Project Overview

Utilizing an expanded genetic code to study protein function

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. Target proteins include poorly understood human selenoproteins, which are suspected to play a role in redox regulation within a cell, and proteins that have been altered through post-translational modifications.

Student Qualifications

Chem 102 or 111.

Number of Student Researchers

2 students

Project Length

10 weeks

Applications open on 01/03/2021 and close on 03/22/2021

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If you have questions, please contact Karyn Belanger (