365051 New Approaches to Interrogate and Engineer Complex Biocatalytic Networks
I hope to run a multidisciplinary research group that employs novel theoretical and experimental approaches to interrogate and engineer biochemical systems of relevance to human health, energy, and the environment. My research program will have three broad goals: (i) to develop methods for controlling, studying, and altering enzyme activities of metabolic relevance, (ii) to employ those methods to answer fundamental questions of human disease, cellular metabolism, and molecular recognition, and (iii) to apply those methods, and correspondingly evolved theories, to develop novel enzyme inhibitors and to engineer metabolic networks.
My lab will employ concepts and techniques from protein engineering, catalysis, nanotechnology, synthetic biology, and applied mathematics. Our work will range in scope from highly applied (e.g. the development of a new biochemical sensor or an improved metabolic pathway) to highly theoretical (e.g. the use of dynamical systems theory to identify patterns in social networks or ecosystem dynamics that apply to the differentiation of cells or to the behavior of systems of mutually interacting biocatalytic species).
With this presentation, I will describe a few proposed projects consistent with these plans. Examples include (i) optical systems for spatiotemporal control of enzyme activity in vivo, (ii) metamaterials-based strategies for evolving enzymes for synthetic metabolic networks, and (iii) enzymatic evolution of small molecules to inhibit pathologically relevant enzymes.