Our work studies the interplay of biomolecules – proteins, sugars, lipids and their modifications. Synthetic Biology’s development at the start of this century may be compared with Synthetic Organic Chemistry’s expansion at the start of the last; after decades of isolation, identification, analysis and functional confirmation, the future logical and free-ranging redesign of biomacromolecules offers tantalizing opportunities to dissect mechanism and control function in physiology and biology.
This lecture will cover past and emerging areas in our group in the manipulation of biomolecules with an emphasis on new bond-forming and bond-breaking processes compatible with biology and using those to understand molecular mechanisms. :
(i) New methods: the development of precise methods that may be applied to biology at a posttranslational level, generating minimal ‘scars’ or ‘traces’ (ideally ‘trace’-less), could allow broad control of function. This will allow applications beyond simple ‘labeling biology’ or retrieval biology’. The development of chemo- and regio-selective methods with potential to posttranslationally ‘edit’ biology in this way, applied under benign conditions to redesign and reprogramme the structure and function of biomolecules, will be presented.
(ii) ‘Synthetic Biologics’ and their applications: biomimicry; functional recapitulation; effector [drug/agrochemical/gene/radio-dose] delivery; selective protein degradation; inhibitors of pathogen interactions; non-invasive presymptopmatic disease diagnosis; probes and modulators of in vitro and in vivo function illustrate possible resulting technologies.