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DLRG Research

Research in the DeLisa group focuses on understanding and controlling the molecular mechanisms underlying protein biogenesis - folding and assembly, membrane translocation and post-translational modifications - in the complex environment of a living cell. We focus on the molecular machines of protein biosynthesis both as a toolbox for the discovery, design and manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals and as targets for reprogramming cellular physiology. One approach in our laboratory is to exploit untapped mechanistic features of existing cellular machinery such as intrinsic protein quality control mechanisms that ensure correct folding and assembly of native and non-native proteins. This approach is helping to illuminate important structure-function relationships for protein machinery and is providing a basis by which the machines themselves can be harnessed for producing novel biotechnological products. A second related approach is to engineer microbial cells with unnatural protein machinery, thereby expanding the repertoire of useful biological and chemical functions far beyond those bestowed by nature. Such engineered cells represent a robust platform for cost-effective biosynthesis of complex therapeutic proteins and vaccines for a range of human diseases. For more info...

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