Thesis subject

Proteins for encapsulating proteins

At WUR-FBR & WUR-PCC we use biotechnology to design and produce new structural polypeptides for use in high tech biomedical and biotechnological applications such as tissue culture, nano-sized vehicles for drug delivery, new sequencing technologies, and coatings of man-made materials that need to interface with living cells, tissues, body fluids etc. We take inspiration from structural proteins present in nature (collagen, keratin, elastin etc.) in order to create new polypeptide materials with special properties. Design of the molecules starts in silico. We combine sequences from genes encoding for structural proteins and adapt these for our own purposes. Using genetic engineering, we create synthetic genes that are used to produce new types of functional recombinant polypeptides.

It is expected that in the near future, we will see more and more peptide and protein-based drugs. That is, if suitable nano-scale vehicles can be developed that bring these sensitive compounds to their target before they are degraded....We have previously develop a triblock polypeptide that coats single DNA molecules and packs them into "virus-like" rigid rods. In this particular project, you have the opportunity to find out whether these new "artificial viral coat proteins" can also be used to make nanocontainers that protect sensitive therapeutic proteins and peptides.

We offer an opportunity to learn how to:

  • Write scientific proposals, plans for experiments and scientific reports
  • Work with protein-protein complexes
  • Do Atomic Force Microscopy on protein-protein complexes
  • Study protection of sensitive proteins by nanocapsules in degradation experiments

We are asking for a highly motivated MSc student:

  • Enrolled in the Biotechnology / Molecular Life Sciences program
  • A wide range of scientific interests (Soft Matter science, Biomedical Technology, protein self-assembly, recombinant DNA technology,...)