Our lab is the Optogenetic Protein Engineering Node of the Canadian Neurophotonics Platform. We work together with a Canada-wide team of researchers to develop and test novel neurophotonics tools and technologies.
We use protein engineering to invent new tools for imaging dynamic biochemical events in live cells and tissues. We distribute these tools to cell biologists and neuroscientists who apply them to address questions ranging from fundamental mechanisms in cell biology, to the underlying causes of mental illness, to the development of novel therapeutics.
The molecules that make our work possible are colourful naturally occurring fluorescent proteins from jellyfish, coral, and other marine organisms. Starting from the gene for a fluorescent protein, we use the techniques of molecular biology, protein engineering, and artificial molecular evolution to create useful research tools. Since these tools are protein based, the instructions to make them can be easily introduced into cells, tissues, or even transgenic model organisms, in the form of DNA.
Congratulations to Andy for giving an outstanding presentation at the 2014 Undergraduate Research Symposium last month. Andy worked with graduate student Wei Zhang last summer on the development of a photoactivatable kinase.