ECR Seminar: Taylor Szyszka, School of Chemistry – School of Chemistry ECR Seminar: Taylor Szyszka, School of Chemistry – School of Chemistry

ECR Seminar: Taylor Szyszka, School of Chemistry

Monday, 21 August 4:00pm – 5:00pm

This seminar will be delivered in Chemistry Lecture Theatre 4 and Online (Zoom) Please email for zoom link and password.

Speaker: Taylor Szyszka, School of Chemistry

Host: Dr Johnny Liu

Title: Happy little accidents: moving toward triggered assembly in encapsulin protein cages

Abstract: Encapsulin protein cages self-assemble from many copies of a single protein to form large hollow shells often used for storage or sequestration in bacteria and archaea. Encapsulins can house both native and non-native cargo molecules, primarily proteins or peptides, and their exterior shell is highly engineerable, making encapsulin an attractive system for the design of nanoreactors. As biotechnological applications of encapsulins become more sophisticated, it is increasingly desirable to house inorganic cargo such as metal catalysts, therapeutics, or chemical probes within encapsulin cages. So far, this has remained elusive as encapsulins self-assemble in vivo limiting the types of packageable cargo to things that are available in a living cell. To package cargo outside of the cell (i.e. in vitro packaging), we would need to trigger encapsulins to disassemble/assemble, and efforts to do so have so far been hindered by encapsulin’s remarkable stability. As such, clever protein engineering solutions are required to enable triggerable assembly of encapsulins in vitro. In this talk, I will present two projects aimed at achieving in vitro assembly/packaging with one going on to teach us critical information about encapsulin assembly and structure and the other bringing us closer than ever to triggered encapsulin assembly.

Bio: Dr Taylor Szyszka is a postdoctoral research associate in The University of Sydney School of Chemistry in the lab of Dr Yu Heng Lau where she studies synthetic biology applications of encapsulin protein cages. Upon receiving her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from The University of Arizona, Taylor relocated to Sydney to undertake a PhD in Structural Biology with Prof Joel Mackay at The University of Sydney which she completed in 2019. An avid science communicator, Taylor took a brief break from research run the STEAMPunk Girls educational program at UTS, where she trained ~100 teachers from around NSW in new approaches for teaching STEM integrated with the arts and humanities. Taylor is passionate about synthetic biology and protein engineering as well as making science accessible to the public and the next generation of scientists. She is excited to bring her science to more audiences as one of Science and Technology Australia’s Superstars of STEM for 2023 – 2024.


Aug 21 2023


4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Chemistry Lecture Theatre 4
Level 2, School of Chemistry

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