Title: The coming of age of de novo protein design
Speaker: David Baker, University of Washington
Proteins mediate the critical processes of life and beautifully solve the challenges faced during the evolution of modern organisms. Prof. Baker’s group’s goal is to design a new generation of proteins that address current day problems not faced during evolution. In contrast to traditional protein engineering efforts, which have focused on modifying naturally occurring proteins, they design new proteins from scratch based on Anfinsen’s principle that proteins fold to their global free energy minimum. They compute amino acid sequences predicted to fold into proteins with new structures and functions, produce synthetic genes encoding these sequences, and characterize them experimentally. Prof. Baker will describe the de novo design of fluorescent proteins, new protein therapeutic candidates, membrane penetrating macrocycles, protein delivery vehicles, and allosteric proteins that carry out logic operations.