Headshot portrait of Winnie Huang - Bio-X Undergraduate Fellow
2022 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

Home Department: Chemical Engineering
Mentor: Danielle Mai (Chemical Engineering)

“Structural Insights into Calcium Responsive Polypeptides”

Calcium is an intracellular messenger that regulates key cellular functions. This project aims to characterize the folding dynamics and structure of repetitive proteins that fold and unfold in response to the presence of calcium. Winnie will generate these calcium responsive proteins using Mai Lab facilities. Subsequently, high-throughput preparation of protein crystals will be conducted in collaboration with the Wakatsuki lab using a hanging drop crystallization robot. X-ray crystallography using SLAC facilities will provide high-resolution structures of the folded proteins. These findings will then be applied to characterize the folding dynamics and crystal structures of fusion proteins that include this repetitive domain. Concurrent with the expression and purification of calcium responsive proteins exists an investigation into how protein folding kinetics is influenced by protein sequence and ion concentration. This work will contribute to studying protein structure, conformation, and function in response to calcium.