Areas of Basic Research

In nature, proteins harvest solar energy, manufacture molecules, and transform chemical energy into work. Our scientists draw inspiration from nature as we seek to design equally useful proteins from scratch.

By unlocking the power of proteins, we are setting the stage for a new wave of medicines and materials with previously unimagined functions — tapping into the full efficiency, scalability, and sustainability of biology.

Protein Structure Prediction

Our scientists are developing deep learning tools that quickly and accurately model the three-dimensional structures of proteins from sequence data alone. Our latest tool, RoseTTAFold, is available for free public use.

Protein and Small Molecule Binding

We are developing methods for designing high-affinity protein binding and applying this to create binders to targets of medical interest. We are also designing proteins that bind to small molecules. This research provides insights into the molecular interactions that underlie most cellular processes.

Self-Assembling Nanomaterials

Self-assembling proteins play critical roles in biology. IPD researchers are developing methods to create new self-assembling nanostructures and using these approaches to develop advanced vaccines and drug delivery vehicles.

Our first approved medicine, a vaccine for COVID-19, employs our computationally designed protein nanoparticle technology.

New Protein Scaffolds

In the past, almost all protein design efforts have modified naturally occurring protein backbones. But for most challenges, there is unlikely to already exist a protein with an optimal three-dimensional structure.

We are developing methods for designing a wide range of exceptionally stable protein folds with tunable geometries for specific applications.

Enzyme Design

Enzymes catalyze chemical reactions that are essential for life. We are developing methods to design new enzymes for chemical transformations not found in nature. This research helps reveal more about the chemical foundations of life.

Protein Structure Determination

Our researchers are developing methods for solving protein structures using limited experimental data. These tools are in use in research laboratories around the world.

Parallel Synthesis and Screening

Since no design tool is perfect, we manufacture and measure the activity of as many designed proteins as possible. Our researchers are developing methods for testing tens of thousands of different computationally designed molecules in parallel.

At the Institute for Protein Design, we bring all aspects of protein and peptide production, characterization, and structural determination under one roof. Click here to learn more about our Core Research Labs.