Axial - Northwestern #1
Analysis of exciting Northwestern life sciences inventors and their inventions
In Evanston, Illinois, Northwestern has an exciting core of life sciences inventors that have the tools and discoveries to form unique companies.
Engineering biology for medicine, materials, and energy.
A leader in the field of synthetic biology whose work has supported companies such as Tierra and SwiftScale and more in the future - https://academic.oup.com/synbio/article/4/1/ysz003/5289333 - using a cell-free system to produce the fragrance/flavor, limonene at a mg scale.
Designing an in vitro ribosome system at a much lower cost, enabled by using a commonly used strain, and achieving a 10x fold increase in protein yield after the iterative design cycles - https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acssynbio.8b00276
Inventing a cell-free glycoprotein synthesis tool (CFGpS) - https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-05110-x - to enable a one-pot reaction for site-specific asparagine-linked glycosylation; incredibly useful to antibody production:
Overview of ribosome engineering - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S136759311730008X - to design tethered ribosomes (Ribo-T) for production for new proteins:
Using a cell-free system of Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells to manufacture antibodies within 2 days (compared to 7 days) - https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acssynbio.7b00001 - with improvements required around improving specificity and scale of the experiment:
Modeling dynamic biological systems.
The Bagheri Lab did a lot of important theoretical and computational work at Northwestern with the group moving to the University of Washington; modeling out the role of metabolism in the timing of fly development - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092867419306865
Overview of computational methods to explore biological networks - https://academic.oup.com/icb/article/54/2/296/639118
Framework to chose models for specific biological pathways and phenomena - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0958166916301100
Controlling microbial communities.
Studying biofilm systems and the heterogeneity in signaling within the community of microbes - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S240547121830245X - important to understand how biofilms are formed and maintained to design interventions.
Engineered a bacterium to lyse once it reaches a certain density within a microbial community and release its cargo - https://cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/sites.northwestern.edu/dist/c/1892/files/2017/08/Din16-y3alq6.pdf - showing an ability to boost therapeutic efficacy of chemotherapies:
High-throughput protein biophysics and design.
Using protein design tools coupled with a high-throughput protease susceptibility assay measuring protein folding/stability, decoding 10Ks of de novo designed proteins - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5568797/
Helping design new de novo conformationally-restricted peptides - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5161715/ - incredibly useful for stable peptide therapeutics.
With NGS and yeast display, testing ~20K de novo designed proteins - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5802399/ - showing use cases against influenza:
Studying the structure and replication of viruses.
Overview of the Paramyxoviridae virus class, an biquitous disease-causing virus in both humans and animals - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4424121/ - and their mechanisms to enter into host cells:
Characterizing a new way on how the influenza A virus can spread between cells through intercellular connections - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4300760/
Using organic chemistry to create new molecular tools.
Using self-assembled monolayers for matrix-assisted laser desorption-ionization (SAMDI) mass spectrometry to measure CoA-dependent pathways (important for metabolism) - https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/advances/5/6/eaaw9180.full.pdf - to measure reaction conditions for each pathway relating on CoA:
Overview of the power of SAMDI mass spectrometry to measure reactions modifying peptides - https://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/acs.biochem.9b00022
Inventing a microfluidic device to measure rate constants of a chemical reactions - https://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/acscentsci.8b00867 - allowing a cheaper method to monitor reactions.
Developing a method to assess the structure–activity relationships (SAR) and design rules for spherical nucleic acids (SNA) - https://www.nature.com/articles/s41551-019-0351-1 - relying on mass spectrometry to measure SNA activity across ~1K candidates:
Inventing a high-throughput method of SAMDI mass spectrometry to measure drug–drug interactions - https://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/acs.analchem.6b01750 - valuable to measure adverse drug interactions before therapeutic approval.