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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/T030704/1
Title: Establishing a Periodic Table Toolbox for Nanoassembly and Superselectivity
Principal Investigator: Howarth, Professor MR
Other Investigators:
Richter, Dr RP
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Biochemistry
Organisation: University of Oxford
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 August 2020 Ends: 31 July 2023 Value (£): 419,309
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Synthetic biology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
07 Apr 2020 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 7 and 8 April 2020 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Synthetic biology refers to taking an engineering approach to biology, allowing biological building blocks to be assembled and function in a controlled and predictable way. Synthetic biology has potential to generate major changes in areas including energy, healthcare and agriculture. Proteins are powerful tools in synthetic biology because of their diverse activities, including catalysing reactions and sensing changes in their environment. Our group has established a specific unbreakable way to connect proteins, from harnessing an unusual protein chemistry from bacteria. The periodic table of protein architectures helps to understand the symmetry of how proteins can come together into teams. The toolbox we develop here will make it possible, simply by mixing with the appropriate partner, to assemble a protein into teams ranging from 2 to 720 members and over a wide size range. Teamwork matters, even at the molecular level, so this assembly will enable tuning of how proteins bind, signal and move in living systems. Many therapies depend upon distinguishing between healthy cells with some level of a receptor versus unhealthy cells having higher receptor levels. Normally it is difficult to generate drugs to kill the unhealthy cells without toxic side-effects from the drug also sticking to many healthy cells. Superselectivity is a principle established on non-living systems that could reduce these side-effects. Here we will harness the new protein teams so we can find out how to achieve superselectivity on living cells.
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Organisation Website: http://www.ox.ac.uk