Synthetic and Chemical Biology Routes to Engineer Protein-Protein Interaction


Event details

Date 26.06.2024
Hour 09:3010:30
Speaker Aerin Yang, PhD, Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, School of Medicine, Stanford University, CA (USA)
Location Online
Category Conferences - Seminars
Event Language English

Understanding the cellular mechanisms governed by intricate networks of protein-protein interactions (PPIs) remains a significant challenge in biology. In the evolutionary arms race between host immune receptors and pathogen or cancer antigens, proteins undergo dynamic changes, including post-translational modifications (PTMs) and co-evolutionary mutations. Understanding these mechanisms at the protein level is crucial for developing more effective and safer therapeutic solutions. In this talk, I will elucidate my research efforts aimed at unraveling these complex molecular interactions through the integration of chemical and synthetic biology approaches. Firstly, I will discuss my work on chemical biology methods for site-specific protein modification, advancing our understanding of PTM biology. Next, I will describe the recently invented 'library-on-library' approaches designed to co-evolve PPIs and how this synthetic dataset can be used to train machine learning models for predicting novel interactions. Collectively, this work provides critical insights into cutting-edge techniques and interdisciplinary strategies that have the potential to transform protein engineering.

Aerin is a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University, working with Dr. Chris Garcia. Her research focuses on developing innovative protein engineering tools and utilizing interdisciplinary methods to study protein modifications and protein-protein interactions in immunology. She earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry from KAIST, South Korea, under the mentorship of Dr. Hee-Sung Park. Her graduate thesis focused on developing chemical biology tools for site-specific modification of proteins and investigating the fundamental mechanisms of post-translational modifications, which was recognized with multiple awards and honors, including an Agarwal Award, a Dow Chemical Award, and a Best Thesis Award from KAIST. At Stanford, Aerin is dedicated to engineering cytokine and immune receptor/ligand interactions through a blend of experimental and computational techniques. She has pioneered a synthetic platform for high-throughput screening of coevolved proteins with diverse specificities and cross-reactivities, leveraging machine learning to enhance the engineering of protein-protein interactions. Her contributions to the field have been published in reputable journals, and she has been honored with prestigious recognitions such as the HFSP Postdoctoral Fellowship and Columbia/JHU/Cornell Rising star award.

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Practical information

  • Informed public
  • Free