Anjali Chadha

Anjali  Chadha
MIT BE Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar
Advisor: George Church
Department: BE/UBIOME
Areas of Research: Computational Biology
Years: 2021-2022
Research Project Title:

Library-Based Engineering of Synthetic Membrane Proteins for Programmable Cell-Cell Interaction in Human Cells

abstract:Cell-cell interaction (CCI) is a keystone of multicellular organisms, critical to maintaining structure and signaling. Current research into CCIs primarily use endogenous membrane receptors, which are challenging to tune and often trigger innate cellular responses. To create a programmable CCI platform orthogonal to endogenous signaling, we aim to engineer and screen a library of synthetic membrane proteins based on the designability of coiled-coil protein domains. We will screen our library initially in bacteria and further validate the hits in human cells. Our novel synthetic membrane proteins will enable deeper understanding of the role of affinity in cell biology as well as allow us to specify cellular makeup of multicellular structures.

Through this SuperUROP I hope to gain deeper understanding of the potential applications of synthetic biology to cell biology, developmental biology, and immunology. I want to learn how to effectively communicate my research through presentations and papers, as well as how to frame the problems I choose to work on and design approaches to begin solving them. I am excited to work in the Church Lab around innovative and interdisciplinary thinkers.