Derek Bush

I am currently a second year PhD candidate in the program. I graduated with my bachelors degree from BYU in April 2012. My research interests involve biochemical engineering, especially protein engineering, and was inspired by my work with Dr. Bundy as an undergraduate. My current career goal is to work in the pharmaceutical industry, but I am also interested in biofuels and biocatalysis. My hometown is Coppell, TX, which is just outside of Dallas, and that is where I have lived most of my life. I have one older sister who lives in California with her family. Outside of my research interests my main hobbies are art and remote-controlled aircraft. I am best at pencil drawing and I enjoy graphic design, so I try to do the two as much as I can and try to find ways of incorporating them with into my research efforts. My RC aircraft skills are still rudimentary, but my goal is to get good at flying helicopters. Eventually I would like to build my own gas-powered helicopter. I also enjoy astronomy, when I can do it.

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Derek Bush


My advisor is Dr. Knotts. I am using molecular simulations to better understand the behavior of antibodies both free-floating in solution and also interacting with a nearby solid surface. Antibodies are large biomolecules that are composed of 4 separate peptide chains, some of which bind various sugar molecules, that are connected with disulfide bonds to form a single large molecule. The peptides form 2 antigen-binding domains called Fabs and a single Fc domain which interacts with the immune system. In recent months I have developed a working deglycosylated (sugar-free) coarse-grain model of an antibody and have simulated its behavior free-floating in solution and tethered to a solid hydrophobic surface in 2 different orientations. As expected, it demonstrates complex folding behavior composed of various thermodynamic states which changes significantly when it comes into contact with a hydrophobic surface. This work will complement future research into antibody-antigen interactions away from and near surfaces. This work will provide design principles for applications which involve protein-ligand-surface interactions in fields such as medicine, scientific research, national defense, and biocatalysis.


  • AIChE poster presentation, Nov. 2010, Salt Lake City, UT.
  • NCUR oral presentation, Mar. 2012, Weber, UT.


  • The Incorporation of the A2 Protein to Produce Novel Q[beta] Virus-like Particles Using Cell-free Protein Synthesis. Biotechnology Progress, Nov. 2011.