Awarded in 2021
Home Department: Chemistry
Faculty Advisors: Karl Deisseroth (Bioengineering, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences), Carolyn Bertozzi (Chemistry), and Zhenan Bao (Chemical Engineering)
Research Title: Genetically Targeted Chemical Assembly and Disassembly of Functional Molecules in Intact Living Systems
Research Description: Living systems’ ability to construct chemical structures with complex functions from molecular to macromolecular scales are evolutionarily conserved and essential for survival. Cells are chief engineers in building architectures, ranging from spatial arrangement of photoreceptors in vision, combinatorial nature of chemical receptors in olfaction and mechanosensitive cilla cells in audition. Synthesis of diverse chemical, molecular and macromolecular entities across scales by defined cell-types under physiological conditions in living organisms are beyond the capabilities of human design. Herein, genetically targeted chemical assembly (GTCA) of functional bonds and molecules in intact living systems is proposed to break the limits of human design.