Assessment of in silico tools for the toxicity screening of expressed proteins in novel foods

In the EU, proteins (and other ingredients) derived from novel foods such as e.g. genetically modified plants (GMOs) and insects that do not have a history of safe use should undergo extensive safety evaluation before placing such ingredients on the EU market.

Bioinformatics-supported (in silico) searches for homology to proteins known to cause adverse effects may provide indications of potential toxicity or anti-nutritive effects. Such indications will guide the choice for follow-up in vitro and possibly in vivo tests that are needed for verification.

Aim of the project

The aim of this project is to explore different in silico tools and methods for predicting potential protein toxicity to support the food and feed risk assessment of genetically modified and other novel foods & feeds. A further aim is to develop a user-friendly, web-based bioinformatics tool that enables stakeholders, particularly those without technical resources or expert knowledge of their own, to screen a protein of interest for possible similarity to known protein toxins, as an indicator of its potential toxicity.

What we are asking

We seek a motivated bioinformatics student (BSc/MSc) that can work independently. He/She should have an interest in biochemistry/biotechnology, and should have an interest in developing web content and applications. Please contact Gijs Kleter for more information.