The ability to design new proteins to accurately detect small molecule ligands can transform synthetic biology, medicine, environmental monitoring, bioremediation, and bioenergy.
Protein-based biosensors are autonomous, self-powered, miniaturizable, and programmable macromolecules that function in both in vivo and ex vivo environments. Within a cell, biosensors report on real-time metabolic states, allow dynamic control of pathways, and enable the construction of complex genetic circuits. Outside the cell, biosensors can be integrated with other technologies to facilitate the development of analytical sensors with high specificity and quantitative output.
We aim to expand the naturally existing biosensor repertoire to recognize new classes of small molecules. Our approach combines computational protein design, multiplexed cell-based screening, deep sequencing, and machine learning to functionally characterize and improve upon designed biosensors. We are currently developing biosensors for use in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic systems.