Protein engineer to explore route from DNA blueprint to synthetic antibodies – public lecture

Protein engineer to explore route from DNA blueprint to synthetic antibodies – public lecture

March 10, 20232 min read

  • Professor Anna Hine will explore how advances in protein engineering have enabled us to make both synthetic antibodies and their replacements
  • Inaugural lecture will take place at Aston University on Tuesday 28 March 2023 at 6.30pm
  • Members of the public may attend in person or online.

Professor Anna Hine, a molecular biologist specialising in protein engineering in the College of Health and Life Sciences at Aston University, is to present her inaugural public lecture on Tuesday 28 March 2023.

During her lecture, A route to synthetic antibodies (and their replacements), Professor Hine will take the audience from the basics of molecular biology to explaining her inventions in protein engineering, through to examining the ways in which her research is being applied internationally to develop synthetic antibodies.

Professor Hine gained her PhD in molecular biology from The University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology in 1992 and did her postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School. She returned to the UK to take up a lectureship in molecular biology at Aston University in 1995.

Professor Anna Hine, professor of protein engineering, said: “Antibodies are one of our major lines of defence against infection and we can create them very quickly to help incapacitate a multitude of biological invaders. Humans do this by changing the part of the antibody that recognises the invading pathogen, through a process of rapid, natural mutation. Protein engineers have learned to mimic this process in the laboratory to create synthetic proteins – particularly antibodies - for use in both therapy and fundamental research.”

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to present our discoveries in a way that I hope will make just as much sense to non-scientists as to a scientific audience.”

Similar to the natural mutation of antibodies, protein engineers can make vast numbers of tiny variations of a protein such as an antibody.

Professor Hine added: “We will contemplate the vast numbers involved in protein engineering and present how our Aston University-based inventions have made the creation of DNA (and thus protein) ‘libraries’ as efficient as possible.

“We will then examine the ensuing problem of how to find the few proteins that we really want from within a protein library. This includes collaborating with experts who specialise in computer-assisted library design and also working with those who have developed the latest methods to search the libraries that we make.”

Professor Hine will also show how her latest collaborative projects are starting to move beyond the antibody itself.

The lecture will take place at Aston University at 6.00pm for 6.30pm on Tuesday 28 March 2023. It will be followed by a drinks reception from 7.30 pm to 8.00 pm. The lecture is open to the public and free to attend. Places must be booked in advance via Eventbrite.

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