The Department of Biomedicine
BBB seminar

BBB seminar: David Baker

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The coming of age of de novo protein design

David Baker
Institute for Protein Design, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA 

Proteins mediate the critical processes of life and beautifully solve the challenges faced during the evolution of modern organisms. Our 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, we design new proteins from scratch based on Anfinsen’s principle that proteins fold to their global free energy minimum. We compute amino acid sequences predicted to fold into proteins with new structures and functions, produce synthetic genes encoding these sequences, and characterize them experimentally. In this talk, I will describe the de novo design of enzyme catalysts and macrocycles with unnatural amino acids and backbones, along with recent advances in deep learning-based structure modeling and design.

Chairperson: Beate Stern, Department of Biomedicine