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Research

Understanding and Guiding Polymer-based Gene Delivery Theory and Simulation.
Principal Investigatior: Zhen-Gang Wang Ph.D.
Through the theoretical elucidation of biophysical steps such as the formation, stability, and internalization of polyplex, cell-specific targeting, and escape from lysosomes, this research focuses on designing synthetic polymers capable of gene delivery. If successful, it could lead to the development of new targeted gene delivery systems free of the problems inherent in viral vectors.

Cytochrome P450 Heme Domain-Based Molecular Reporter for Functional MRI.
Principal Investigor: Frances Arnold, Ph.D.
This work is designed to develop in-vivo functional neuroimaging in animals by detecting the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrie using protein-based magnetic resonance imaging contrast agents. The technique employed builds on previously successful tissue cultures, and may lead to the direct detection of neurotransmitters important in the study of neurophysiology and neurodegenerative diseases.

Continuous-flow, High-Resolution Electrophoresis for Biomolecule Purification.
Principal Investigator: Richard Flagan, Ph.D.
This is an attempt to develop a new, continuous opposed drift electrophoretic (CODE) method for separation of various substances with resolution equal to capillary electophoresis, but with much higher volume. If successful, the device could produce medically valuable materials, such as immunoglobulins, in larger quantities than are now practical, and could lower the considerable cost of such materials for use in research and clinical use.

N-Terminal Protein Modification for Therapeutics and Imaging. Principal Investigator: David Tirrell, Ph.D.
We propose to develop and explore a new approach to site-specific modification of proteins for therapeutic and imaging applications. Selective transformation of protein N-termini can be achieved by using the eukaryotic enzyme N-myristoyl transferase (NMT), which recognizes specific N-terminal amino acid sequences and appends to each target protein a single copy of myristic acid. Replacement of myristic acid by functionalized analogs is well tolerated by NMT in vitro, in bacteria, and in mammalian cells. Use of appropriately designed myristic acid analogs should enable modification of protein therapeutics for the purpose of enhancing efficacy, and allow conjugation of proteins to fluorophores for in vivo imaging. Other applications in surface immobilization and biocatalyst development may also be explored.

 


Jacobs Foundation
Division of Chemistry and Chemical EngineeringDivision of Engineering and Applied Science
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