News & Events
  • November 15, 2013

    11/18 Seminar: Understanding and Exploiting Proteins in Unusual Places, Joel Kaar, UC Boulder

    Please join the Chemical Engineering Department for the 2013 Autumn Lecture Series featuring:
    Joel Kaar, Assistant Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Colorado, Boulder
    Monday, November 18

    4:00-5:00 pm

    PAA A114
    Understanding and Exploiting Proteins in Unusual Places

    A major area of interest in our group is the use of enzymes in neat ionic liquids, a unique class of reaction solvents with attractive environmental and chemical processing properties. The overall aim of our work in this area has been to elucidate how the solvent environment of ionic liquids impacts enzyme structure and activity. While investigating this impact, we have developed a novel approach to rationally improve enzyme stability in ionic liquids via charge engineering. Moreover, we have also developed a novel approach to directly probe the impact of near-­‐surface environments on protein conformation using dynamic single-­‐molecule microscopy. This approach exploits high-­‐ throughput FRET tracking to elucidate structural changes in proteins at the single molecule level. Using this approach, such changes, may, in turn, be connected with interfacial dynamic measurements, offering unprecedented insight into surface-­‐induced effects on protein function. Application of this approach will ultimately lead to a profound understanding of the dominant physico-­‐chemical factors associated with the inactivation of proteins on material surfaces. More broadly, this approach, which is widely applicable to virtually any protein, provides the framework to develop surfaces and surface modifications with improved biocompatability.