A fascination with proteins

Head along to this FREE lecture series.

A whole new world is waiting behind the lens of a microscope, discovering the secrets of this world will be the focus of the ninth instalment of a free lecture series at Massey University.

University of Auckland’s Distinguished Professor Ted Baker will give his talk ‘Serendipity and the discovery of new protein chemistry’ as part of the Fascination Sciences lecture series on the University’s Albany campus.

“Throughout my scientific life I have been fascinated by the beautiful and complex structures of biology, especially those formed by proteins, and by the ability to see these molecules through the lens provided by crystals,” Professor Baker says.

In this talk he will describe some of the unexpected findings, and potential new applications, that can come from exploring some of the unknown proteins encoded in genome sequences. “The advent of genome sequencing, some 20 years ago, brought a vast array of new data, but also indicated how much is still unknown about the natural world.”  

“For example, by targeting genes for proteins predicted to be displayed on the outside surfaces of bacteria, we discovered bonds that form spontaneously when the host proteins fold up, and can now be used as a molecular ‘super-glue’ to join proteins together for applications in biotechnology,” says Professor Baker.

About Professor Baker

Professor Baker is part of the Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery and the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Auckland. He was awarded the Rutherford Medal, NZ’s highest science honour in 2006.

His research group is concerned with determining the molecular basis of biological processes. “We focus on the structure and function of proteins, using X-ray crystallography to determine their 3D structures, and other biophysical and biochemical approaches, as appropriate, to relate structure to function. Sometimes a feature of the structure of a protein can completely change one’s conception of how it works or what it could be used for – whether in biotechnology or in the design of new therapeutic drugs”.

Actinidin fold.

Lecture details

Serendipity and the discovery of new protein chemistry

Tuesday, September 26, 7.00 - 8.30pm, Sir Neil Waters Lecture Theatres, Massey University Auckland Campus, Albany.

For more information or to register to attend, go to http://massey.ac.nz/fascination-science


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