Mission & Goals

Natural proteins evolved to solve the challenges faced during evolution. However, we face new and pressing challenges today. The goal of the Institute for Protein Design is to develop and apply methods for designing a whole new world of synthetic proteins to address these challenges.

To achieve this goal, the Institute was established in 2012, and is building on strengths both within the University of Washington and in Seattle generally. Protein design requires high-level expertise in computing and software, biochemistry, genome sciences, biological structure, pharmacology, immunology and other basic science disciplines, as well as clinical medicine. We are marshaling deep institutional strengths in our faculty, scientific staff, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, our partners from collaborating institutions, innovator networks and from the computer and biotechnology industries — bringing extraordinary expertise to bear on a singular focus to advance the potential of protein design.

Enabled by decades of basic research, the rise of inexpensive computing, and the genomics revolution in reading and writing DNA, our researchers can now design new biomolecules from scratch with specific functions. We have developed catalysts for chemical reactions, HIV and RSV vaccine candidates and experimental therapies for diseases like cancer and the flu.