Study Group Protein Engineering and Design

Tailored proteins are much-needed for applications in medical sciences, biotechnology, and synthetic biology. Accordingly, there is a large market for 'protein engineering and design' to deliver and a great interest in the development of reliable prediction methods. In general, protein engineering describes the targeted change of existing proteins, while protein design aims to construct artificial proteins with novel properties. The ability to design proteins rationally is closely related to our understanding of the sequence-structure and structure-function relationships in proteins. Consequently, protein engineering & design is an interdisciplinary and current field of research, with a spectrum of methods ranging from the use of computers to structural planning, genetic engineering, production and biochemical characterisation of synthetic proteins to their structural analysis.

The targeted modification of existing and the production of new proteins with desired properties has long been a goal of protein biochemistry. This topic has not lost its topicality since the study group was founded in 1994. The design of proteins has made enormous progress in recent years with the development of innovative methods from the development of directed evolution techniques and efficient library design to the more recent advance in structure prediction using artificial intelligence and deep learning. Thus, the topic is not only interesting for basic research, but is also used directly in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. The use of enzymes with artificially increased conformational stability or catalytic efficiency as environmentally friendly catalysts for the synthesis of valuable fine chemicals or the use of optimized antibodies and other artificial binding proteins in the treatment of tumors and viral diseases play an important role today and help to master current social challenges.

The goal of this study group is to promote this current research area and support the exchange between protein chemistry, applied genetic engineering, structural analysis and biocomputing in order to advance the targeted construction of proteins with new structural and functional properties. We want to support contact within academic research and moreover also address application-oriented issues in medicine and industry.

Prof. Dr. Birte Höcker 
Universität Bayreuth
Universitätsstr. 30
95447 Bayreuth 
P. +49 921 557831 

Dr. Stefan Zielonka
Merck KGaA
Frankfurter Str. 250
Postcode: D050/905I
64293 Darmstadt
P. +49 6151 7245233