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CBE Seminar: Julie Champion, Georgia Institute of Technology

Title: "Protein Vesicles: From Self-Assembly to Drug Delivery and Biocatalysis."

The main goal of Julie Champion’s lab is to create materials made directly from bioactive proteins. Proteins can provide binding and enzymatic functions simply not possible with small molecules, but their large size and folded structure present critical challenges in terms of delivery, stability and activity. They take advantage of protein size, structure, and the ability to interact with other proteins, in order to create functional protein materials via self-assembly routes not available for small molecules.

The ability to control assembly of functional proteins is essential to manipulating the final physical properties of the material, ensuring retention of protein activity, and directing the interactions between materials and cells. One example of their approach is protein vesicles, which have potential in applications such as drug delivery, micro bioreactors, and artificial cells. They have previously designed globule-zipper-polypeptide protein complexes (Globule-ZE/ZR-ELP), consisting of a model fluorescent globular protein (mCherry), high affinity leucine zipper pair (ZE/ZR), and thermo-responsive elastin-like polypeptide (ELP). They have shown that the fusion protein complexes undergo a phase transition upon warming, from soluble monomers, through dynamic coacervates, to stable hollow vesicles with different structures and sizes dependent on assembly conditions. As they aim to utilize these vesicles, additional knowledge is needed to incorporate truly functional globular proteins and provide stability.

They have now mapped out the phase space of surface charge and molecular weight of the globular proteins capable of making protein vesicles. They have also modified the assembly process to enable sizes as small as 100 nm and stability in physiological conditions. With these abilities in hand, Champion will discuss their use of the vesicles for both drug delivery and biocatalysis.

Julie Champion is an associate professor in the School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology and a member of the Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences and the Bioengineering Program. She earned her BSE in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan. Champion completed her PhD in Chemical Engineering at the University of California Santa Barbara as a National Science Foundation (NSF) graduate fellow under the advisement of Samir Mitragotri.

She was a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology in the lab of David Tirrell. Her current research focuses on design and self-assembly of functional materials made from engineered proteins for applications in immunology, cancer, and more recently, biocatalysis. Champion has received a BRIGE award from NSF, the Georgia Tech Women in Engineering Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the Georgia Tech BioEngineering Program Outstanding Advisor Award.

Dial-In Information

Zoom Meeting ID: 99334141764
Password: 09082020

Tuesday, September 8, 2020 at 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Virtual Event
Event Type

Lectures & Presentations




Current Students, Faculty & Staff, General Public


CBE Seminar, CBE Fall 2020

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
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