The center’s research interests can be majorly categorized in four main groups, as introduced below:

1. Recombinant Protein

Recombinant human protein is human protein that is produced from cloned DNA. This enables a scientist to express large quantities of it. Such overexpression has been of great utility for modern medicine, enabling the production of human protein-based drugs that have no other source. It has also led to great advances in the understanding of the function and biology of human proteins.

Protein production from cloned genes is feasible, because the genes can be cloned into expression vectors. These specialized units of DNA are designed to produce large amounts of protein by the use of specialized promoters. These promoters direct the production of the cloned gene sequence.

Specialized host cells are required for the production of a recombinant human protein. These can be bacterial or yeast cells. Some proteins require special modifications, such as the introduction of sugars, and are expressed in more advanced cell lines, like mammalian or insect cell lines.

In Protein Research Center, we are able to design and launch a recombinant production line from the gene designing, cloning and plasmid insertion into a host cell to high protein expression through fermentation and finally protein purification.


2. Protein Engineering

The protein engineering process initially involves an extensive system-related structure and data gathering effort that provides the groundwork for knowledge driven model building and refinement. Different software packages are applied to the resultant molecular model to calibrate a variety of biophysical characteristics compared to known experimental data about the system. The technique iteratively refines the quality of structural models using a tight integration of data and simulation driven insights, providing a greater degree of realism for rational protein engineering.

Detailed structure, dynamics and energetic characterization help to profile critical hotspot positions in the protein. These extensive conformational dynamics studies are able to provide insight into the impact of distal residues on protein characteristics of interest. These details are invaluable in classifying amino acid position as either congruous or incongruous to mutations for achieving the target activity of interest.

Apart from remodeling and refining the structure with the altered side chain compositions and coupled backbone conformational changes, extensive scoring techniques are employed to evaluate the stability and other functionally relevant characteristics of the protein. A limited number of the promising protein candidates are expressed and assayed using a variety of in vitro techniques such as chromatography, differential scanning calorimetry, surface plasmon resonance or cell based methods where appropriate. This data is used to drive subsequent iterative optimization cycles of the lead candidates.


3. Biochemistry and Molecular Biotechnology

A common concern for the life and composition of the cell brings biologists and chemists together in the field of biochemistry and molecular biology. The vast and complex array of chemical reactions occurring in living matter and the chemical composition of the cell are the primary concerns of the biochemist. Life processes occurring at the molecular level, including the storage and transfer of genetic information and the interactions between cells and the viruses that infect them, are the investigatory concerns of the molecular biologist.

Our research in biochemistry and molecular biology field is focused on new knowledge and original concepts related to solving modern scientific problems. We maintain internationally recognized and well-funded research programs in the areas of bioinformatics, biophysical method development, enzymology, glycobiology, molecular medicine, plant biology, and structural biology, among many others


4. Nanosensors and Microfluidics

Microfluidics is a novel multidisciplinary field of research that deals with engineering, physics, chemistry, biochemistry, nanotechnology, and biotechnology. In this screening technique, low volumes of fluids are processed to achieve many practical applications. It deals with the behavior, precise control and manipulation of fluids that are geometrically constrained to a small, typically sub-millimeter, scale. There are two major approaches of microfluidics technology, namely, continuous-flow and Droplet-based microfluidics.

In contrast with continuous microfluidics, droplet-based microfluidics, which is explored in Protein Research Center, provides the ability of manipulating discrete volumes of fluids in immiscible phases with low Reynolds number and laminar flow regimes. Microdroplets offer the feasibility of handling miniature volumes of fluids conveniently, provide better mixing, and are suitable for high throughput experiments. In addition, in droplet-based microfluidics, droplets can be used as incubators for single cells.

Devices capable of generating thousands of droplets per second open new ways to characterize cell population, not only based on a specific marker measured at a specific time point, but also based on cells kinetic behavior, such as protein secretion, enzyme activity or proliferation.

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