– Through the Looking Glass –
Department – Biomedical Sciences (Graduate Student) –
Research Field – Biophysics/Biochemistry –
How image was captured – Smartphone Camera –
Research Impact & Significance – Protein engineering is the design and production of synthetic proteins. Proteins are biopolymers comprised of building blocks known as amino acids. By manipulating substituting and rearranging these building blocks we can unlock the very fundamentals of life. Using rational protein design we have engineered a functional protein that may provide insight into the great mystery that is protein folding. Pictured is the top down view of a vial containing a protein called HM3, one of the proteins we designed in vitro. We have engineered into HM3 heparin-binding functionality. Heparin is a naturally occurring polymer that acts as an anticoagulant and has many therapeutic uses. It is possible that in the future, the use of such designer proteins can be the new face of treatments for patients. Currently the fastest growing class of pharmaceuticals is protein based. The solution is yellow-tinged due to the hyperpigmentation caused by the high levels of protein present in solution.