Wendy Thomas

Bioengineering

The Thomas lab studies regulated adhesive proteins. While we study protein allostery in general, we are particularly interested in mechanical regulation. A main interest is in “catch bonds” that are activated to bind by tensile mechanical force. In particular, we study mechanical regulation of proteins involved in bacterial infection and thrombosis. We also engineer smart regulated adhesives. In our “actibodies” project, we design activatable, antibody-like recognition proteins. In our “biocatch adhesion” project, we integrate catch bonds into adhesives that will allow medical robots to catch human tissue under force, and then release it, like nanoscale locking seatbelts.