Protein Science

Biochemical and biophysical methods to enable virus-receptor and virus-immune molecule discoveries

The Protein Science team develops versatile biochemical and biophysical methods to enable new discoveries across a broad cut of virus-receptor and virus-immune molecule interactions.  We collaborate broadly with scientists and physicians in Biohub’s Research Groups program and at our partner institutes (UCSF, Stanford, and UC Berkeley), to study a wide range of viruses of significance to human health. As virus-receptor interactions represent the first step to cell entry, and since inhibition by antibodies elicited by vaccines can be broadly protective, our work is of direct application to the detection and/or prevention of infectious diseases.   

Our Research

Antigen and antibody biochemical methods development 

We leverage multiple recombinant platforms (bacterial, insect, suspension CHO, and 293 cells) for the expression of antigens and antibodies, and develop automated platforms for the purification of proteins at analytical and preparative scale.  We deploy analytical methods (SEC-MALS, DSF, DLS) to characterize the stability and oligomeric state of macromolecules.  We use a blend of experimental and computational approaches to profile antibody titers, specificities, and repertoires that are elicited upon viral infection, vaccination, or auto-immunity.

Collaborative infectious diseases research 

We embrace collaboration and partnership, to advance infectious disease research at the Biohub and within our partner institutes (UCSF, Stanford, and UC Berkeley). These collaborations have led to important contributions to COVID-19 research in areas including vaccine design, autoimmunity in neurologic sequelae, city-wide serosurveillance, and antibody discovery. Nevertheless, the biochemical methods that we develop are versatile and pathogen agnostic, and we have partnered with physicians and scientists across the Bay Area to look at wide-ranging infectious and/or auto-immune diseases including acute flaccid myelitis, dengue fever, and multiple sclerosis.