Protein Design and Potential Use

Professor Gellman and his research group are working on designing beta peptides that adopt specific shapes. By figuring out patterns of secondary structure that result from the primary structure of the protein, they can go on to study and understand tertiary structure.

For instance, cancer cells have low levels, or are completely lacking a protein that allows the cell to die. If a protein that is of the correct shape can be designed, the protein can mimic the missing protein and kill the cancer cells. One graduate student in Professor Gellman's lab is working on designing a protein that can accomplish this task.

Another graduate student in the lab is working on designing a protein that would keep HIV from entering and infecting human cells.

Below is a graphic of a protein interacting with another molecule. The colored areas represent where contact is being made. It is this kind of interaction that accomplishes goals like those mentioned above.

Things To Think About