Department of Biochemistry, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
INPEC node since 1996
We study the creation of new proteins and protein variants. The purpose of this work is to use such engineered proteins to enable research and applications which have been very difficult or even impossible so far. Examples of our endeavors are the creation of new engineered binding proteins to inhibit other proteins or to kill tumor cells, or the stabilization of proteins so that they can be studied structurally and biophysically. Our main areas of interest are novel scaffolds for selective binding (e.g. the DARPin technology we have developed), synthetic antibodies and G-protein-coupled receptors evolved to high stability and expression levels. Because of the complexity of these tasks, this research requires a highly interdisciplinary approach, combining detailed biophysical studies, computer modeling and advanced molecular biology, especially directed evolution. Many projects have close collaboration with crystallography, NMR or computational biology. Some projects also bridge protein engineering with applications, in cell biology or, in the case of tumor targeting testing in animal models.
Keywords: antibody engineering, scaffold engineering, repeat proteins, directed evolution and display technologies, GPCRs, structural biology, protein design