Project Overview

Using an expanded genetic code to study selenoprotein function and post-translational modifications

Faculty Sponsor

Jenny Peeler (




This project utilizes chemical tools in order to study biological systems. We can engineer human cells to build proteins using an expanded set of amino acids, beyond those that are naturally available to the cells. We specifically use this approach (which is called genetic code expansion) to produce human proteins that are challenging or impossible to produce with traditional techniques. Once we have expressed these proteins, we can then study how they function and what role they play in human biology. The lab will be using this tool to study to different biology systems: 1) human selenoproteins, which are currently poorly understood, but are suspected to play a role in redox regulation within a cell and 2) post-translational modifications of bacterial proteins.

Student Qualifications

Chem 102 or Chem 111

Number of Student Researchers

4 students

Project Length

8-9 weeks

Applications open on 10/03/2023 and close on 02/28/2024

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If you have questions, please contact Karyn Belanger (