Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Kodi Nguyen Sciences

ATP-Grasp Enzymes: Versatile Catalysts for Protein Bioconjugation

Scholars Journal

Protein bioconjugation is the process of attaching a protein to a second molecule of interest. Current protein bioconjugation applications include antibody-drug conjugates and cellular imaging. Scientists often perform bioconjugation by incorporating bioorthogonal handles into proteins during translation, which can subsequently undergo ligation reactions. However, this strategy is often low-yielding and non-specific. Using directed evolution and various biochemical techniques, Kodi will develop a novel tool that can attach bioorthogonal handles to specific proteins of interest post-translationally. This tool will consist of an engineered ATP-grasp enzyme that ligates amino acids containing bioorthogonal handles to a recognition site at the C-terminus of a target protein. These handles can subsequently be conjugated to other molecules with well-established chemistry, allowing scientists in both industrial and academic settings to develop a wide range of protein-based products.
Kodi Nguyen
Major: Molecular & Cell Biology
Mentor: Michelle Chang, Chemistry
Back to Listings