Seth Horne, Assistant Professor
University of Pittsburgh
Department of Chemistry
Chevron Science Center
Biomimetic Agents and Designer Materials from Protein-like Molecules Beyond Nature’s Covalent Structures
This talk will consist of a survey of recent research in the Horne lab, which is broadly focused in the area of protein bio-organic chemistry. We are working to apply synthetically modified peptides and proteins as (1) systems to study folding of natural biomolecules and how to control it, (2) scaffolds for the development of bioactive agents, and (3) building blocks for creation of bio-inspired materials. This interdisciplinary research program spans synthetic organic chemistry, structural biology, biophysics, and materials science.
In one thrust of the lab’s work, we are applying principles of dynamic covalent chemistry to promote specific peptide folds and enable in situ selection of bioactive cross-link topologies. In a separate but complementary project, we are developing design strategies for the mimicry of complex protein tertiary folding patterns through systematic backbone alteration of sequences found in nature. Finally, we are applying protein-based building blocks to create supramolecular materials with tunable properties by exploiting sequence–folding relationships in a natural protein oligomerization domain.