University of Vermont

department of chemistry university campus

Bridging the molecular

and biological worlds, our research seeks to understand and control the properties of biological macromolecules to design cancer therapeutics, tissue scaffolds, and nanoscale devices.

Case Research Group


Our research is directed towards designing highly stable proteins. We approach this challenge using both synthetic chemistry and computational simulation. We are developing high-throughput synthetic approaches that can rapidly screen millions of candidate protein sequences. The key enabling technology is dynamic combinatorial chemistry, in which diverse structural elements are allowed to combine under thermodynamic control. For protein design these structural elements are peptides; helices or strands whose associations are controlled by non-covalent interactions

Active projects

Biosensor design in which the DCL includes the analyte to be detected. This is a combinatorial variation on the theme of molecular imprinting and is part of our protein nanotechnology initiative
Protein-based chemotherapeutics where optimal folding stability allows robust epitope display and minimizes proteolysis in vivo
Synthetic collagen in which small, synthetically tractable collagen-like peptides undergo metal-assisted assembly to higher order topologies (fibrils and fibers)

Applications of ultra-stable proteins
  • chemosensors and biosensors
  • protease resistant protein pharmaceuticals
  • scaffolds for tissue repair and regeneration
  • biocatalysts

Proteins by DCL

Limiting metal ion (yellow sphere) selects a predesigned topology from a library of structural subunits. The selected subunits are those that form the most stable associations. Computer-aided design of turns connects the subunits

Last modified July 08 2009 01:34 AM

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