In addition to designing new vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics, IPD researchers are working on research problems that address environmental and energy storage challenges faced today. In a recent paper published in PNAS entitled ‘Computational protein design enables a novel one-carbon assimilation pathway‘, scientists at the IPD and collaborators computationally designed a new protein called formolase that performs a carboligation reaction – directly fixing one-carbon units into three carbon units – a cornerstone of central metabolism. Starting with formate, the scientists show that formolase functions in a completely novel and highly efficient biosynthetic pathway for one-carbon assimilation. This work is proof of principle that protein design can be used to arrive at new metabolic pathways.
MEDIA and TALKS
– Translational Investigator Ingrid Swanson Pultz and her research designing KumaMax, an oral therapeutic for celiac disease and gluten insensitivity, was featured on an episode of UW 360, a magazine-style TV show produced by the University of Washington. Watch Dr. Pultz in the video below at 9:37
– Dr. Pultz was also the monthly speaker at Science on Tap – a forum open to anyone interested discussed science issues with local scientists and community members. Dr. Pultz gave a talk entitled ‘Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance: The Myths, The Reality, and Hope for a Treatment’
– In line with the IPD Mini Symposia series, we continued to have several visiting scientists come to the institute to speak about their research and discuss potential collaborations. This month we heard from John Platt (Google Research) who gave a talk entitled ‘Recent Advances in Machine Learning: Is Bioinformatics Next?’. We also had a team of visitors from Calico, a Bay Area company that combats aging and other associated diseases.
– A group of advanced high school biology students visited the Institute from Columbia River High School in Vancouver, WA. Students and teachers were given a tour of the IPD and also participated in purifying some protein with guidance from the IPD Protein Production Core leader Lauren Carter.
The IPD is offering an opportunity for a Practicum Independent Study for a Foster MBA student. An MBA Student is needed to work with IPD leadership to collect market data on “Small Molecule Binder” applications. The data will be used to build valuation models that will help us to better understand the commercial opportunities for these applications (or others).