Abstract: Protein Immobilization Through the Use of Unnatural Amino Acids

The focus of my research this summer with Dr. Young’s lab is improving biochip technology though the use of unnatural amino acids. A biochip is a collection of miniaturized test sites attached to a solid substrate. While only about the size of a fingernail, these microscopic laboratories can run thousands of biochemical reactions at the same time. These biochips have the potential to test for an array of different diseases simultaneously, including diabetes, cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other autoimmune diseases. The potential for this technology is tremendous; these biochips can become a point-of-care diagnostic tool that is fast, effective, economical, and minimally invasive. However, the efficacy of these tests relies on immobilization of proteins, which has not been fully perfected in recent years. My research aims to develop a process for protein immobilization through the use of unnatural amino acids. Solving these issues has the potential to have a significant impact on disease diagnosis and prevention on a global scale.