School Seminar: Professor Christian Becker, University of Vienna (Austria)
Friday, 6 May 11:00am – 12:00pm
This seminar will be delivered in Online Zoom Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for zoom link and password.
Speaker: Professor Christian Becker, Institute of Biological Chemistry, University of Vienna
Host: Professor Rich Payne
Title: Protein Semi-Synthesis – Providing Tailor-Made Proteins for Biology and Medicine
Abstract: The ability to produce proteins in the laboratory and to change their structures and therefore their properties in a controlled fashion is of crucial importance in basic biological research, in biotechnology and increasingly in medical applications. I will discuss our latest efforts to use chemoselective ligation methods to assemble homogeneous, site-specifically modified proteins from peptides made by solid phase synthesis and from protein segments produced by expression.
Examples that involve the (semi-)synthesis of proteins with specific posttranslational modifications, including lipidation, phosphorylation as well as so far rarely investigated non-enzymatic protein modifications will be presented. The resulting proteins represent unique tools to address open questions related to specific modifications of amino acid side chains, e.g. in cellular recognition, aging and neurodegenerative diseases.
I will also discuss some of our current efforts to understand the self-assembly properties of a small library of linear and branched silaffin-based peptides and how these translate into different silica structures by using very fast NMR techniques and electron microscopy. Silaffin proteins are key components in the formation of siliceous cell walls in diatoms and we take advantage of silaffin-based peptides to form silica particles in biomimetic processes.
Biography: Christian F.W. Becker studied chemistry at the University of Dortmund (Germany) and obtained his diploma in 1998. After receiving his PhD in 2001 from the same University he became a postdoctoral fellow with Gryphon Therapeutics from 2002 to 2003. He started his independent career as a group leader at the Max-Planck Institute in Dortmund, Germany in 2004 and was appointed as Professor for Protein Chemistry at the Technische Universität München in 2007. In 2011, he became Professor and Head of the Institute of Biological Chemistry at the University of Vienna and in 2020 founding head of the Vienna Doctoral School in Chemistry (DoSChem). His group develops and uses chemical as well as biochemical means to generate peptides and proteins with otherwise unattainable (posttranslational) modifications to address biomedical and biotechnological challenges.