I am from Los Alamos, New Mexico. I am interested in doing research in biotechnology.
Beginning with PEG as a model polymer and human GMCSF2 as a commercially-relevant protein, I will engineer a system for rapid screening of different polymer-protein conjugation options. I will do this by using designing primers to insert an amber stop codon at various locations throughout the protein. An unnatural amino acid will be incorporated at the amber stop codon of each variant via cell-free protein synthesis, creating a unique moiety for polymer conjugation. I will test each conjugate in an appropriate activity assay to identify optimally conjugated forms and will use the results to validate a molecular model. I will then expand the work to include other proteins and biocompatible polymers. The guidelines I identify would aid in the rational design of novel polymer-protein conjugates and in the de novo identification of optimal conjugation locations. This will provide a more efficient, more cost-effective method for development of specialized polymer-protein conjugates for uses such as novel biocatalysts, robust therapeutics, and specialized sensor proteins for detecting chemicals and pathogens in various environments.