Developing selection systems for directed evolution
Directed evolution is a powerful tool for engineering biological macromolecules. Selection systems play a central role in distinguishing improved protein variants from mutants with no improvements. The more efficient the systems, the more likely we can identify interesting variants. Existing selection systems for directed evolution suffer from several limitations, such as low dynamic range and low throughput. We aim at tackling these underlying problems in order to develop selection systems that would allow us to rapidly engineer any proteins with desired properties.
Engineering proteins for medical and industrial applications
Nature has provided all living systems with a myriad of proteins that are essential for survival in different conditions on earth. Through recombinant DNA technologies, these proteins can be produced for many different applications, ranging from medicine, to agriculture, to manufacture. Exploiting these biological gold mines, however, faces a couple of challenges, including low protein production yields in heterologous hosts and native properties not suitable for these applications. We are interested in employing directed evolution as well as other approaches to engineer proteins and optimize their production for a variety of applications.