Erika A. Ding

Erika A. Ding
MIT ChemE | Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar
Advisor: Bradley Olsen
Department: ChemE
Areas of Research: Biological Engineering
Years: 2017-2018
Research Project Title:

Protein Purification by Reversible Solvent-Induced Phase Transitions

abstract:Directed evolution can drastically modify the catalytic activity of protein enzymes for use in various artificial applications. By immobilizing an enzyme to make a solid material, we can unlock longer material lifetimes, greater ease of use, and the ability to reuse the material. The goal of this SuperUROP project is to use directed evolution techniques to monitor and select for activity in the material itself, to achieve higher activity levels, or improve other features of interest in the material. Specifically, we will develop methods to efficiently and robustly express and purify Cal-B -- an enzyme widely used in industrial processes like biowaste breakdown -- immobilize it into solid films, and then use directed evolution to optimize its catalytic activity in solid-film form.
About:

“I am participating in SuperUROP because I have enjoyed the UROP research I have done thus far and I would like to delve more deeply into a problem at the intersection of biology and chemical engineering. I hope to make a positive contribution in developing processes that have a wide scope of real-world applications.”