Protein Power


Biochemistry is undeniably one of the coolest fields of study. Protein engineering is a practical application of biochemical technology that can be used in multiple ways. Michael Eisenstein's article entitled, Protein Power, discusses the usefulness of protein engineering in modern science and the significance of its application in research and development. These techniques allow physical biochemists to generate an increasing appreciation and understanding for the usefulness of biochemical engineering. As mentioned in the paper, these discoveries can be used as a form of cancer treatment

: "synthetic antibodies have been designed to bind tightly to specific targets, such as tumor cells, and then label them or even mark them for destruction". However, proteins are unimaginable complex in nature and numerous steps are crucial in ensuring that artificially manufactured proteins are safe enough for human use.

Rosetta and Foldit are only two of the several computer software systems used to establish protein shape, chemistry, functionality and folding capability. These "computer algorithms are giving scientists the power to redesign proteins", allowing them to test their usefulness in various fields of industry. Computational design techniques are promising a bright future for protein engineers, most particularly in artificially produced enzymes (biological catalysts). Various modifications are likely to be implemented into the public health issues concerned with the study of antibiotics and pathogenic activity.

Eisenstein also mentions the usefulness of protein engineering in environmental preservation - "it may soon be possible to build enzymes that can recognize and destroy environmental pollutants, transform plant matter into energy, synthesize revolutionary biomaterials" - how cool is that!


Despite the significant amount of money, time and energy invested into the study of protein engineering, this article, as well as many other publications, prove that it's worth drawing attention to. Our knowledge of the tie remarkable intervention has provided leeway for aspiring biochemical engineers and biological researchers.


- Lilian Keraka


I would certainly have to agree with you on the topic of protein engineering. Not only for the disease fighting capabilities, but I have seen programs where they research what affects protein engineering could have on athletics.

They showed the possibility of jumping higher, running faster, or lifting more weight with protein engineering. It then brought up the question of what it could do for soldiers abilities as well.

I never heard of engineering proteins to combat environmental pollutants. That seems like an awsome application. The promising future of not having to worry about allergies would be a relief for many.

There is no doubt that this is a fascinating field and the applictaions seem to be endless.

The soldier application sounds like a terrible idea. With boundless imagination and possibilities on engineering life, I hope that we will regulate it. Immortality by re-engineering telomerase, the enzyme that extends chromosomes during cell division and prevents loss of genetic information, and creating super soldiers just sounds like an absolute nightmare.

Protein engineering certainly sound like an interesting prospect in the future, but the level of precision on the scale of Angstroms is intimidating. I believe we will discover may more proteins before we start creating our own from know catalytic enzymes. Then again, yellow florescent protein is man-made and is an important diagnostic tool but not exactly catalytic.

It seems like a promising technology, but its important to apply morals to it. If we were to use it on humans by making bigger, stronger athletes or soldiers I think it may be unethical and lead to more problems. Protein engineering does seem promising if we use it for the right reasons such as environmental wise-it would solve many of our environmental problems if it could be used to destroy pollutants.

The idea here sounds really cool, I mean you could build larger stronger athletes and people, but it seems like that might cross some social boundaries. There are many things that we could do to our bodies to make them perform in really weird ways, but they are illegal. What makes this soo much different? If we had athletes that were bigger and stronger there would be harder hits in football, more rediculously high jumps in basketball and we would have an army of super soldiers. A lot of social boundaries would be crossed and I don't feel that we should engineer ourselves.

I think there should be a limit to how much proteins we can engineer. There is a boundary to how much we can alter our body system before it goes out of wack. Of course, it is a great advancement in the health care field and can treat a lot of patients from various diseases. I don't mean to be a downer but do we really want to have stronger athletes through proteins engineering or an army of super soldiers? Also, if each team members' proteins are modified, where is the fun in sport? Eventually, they'll be uniform in strength so that would ruin the game as well. Protein engineering in the medical field is terrific but I am against the use of protein engineering in athletes and soldiers.

It is interesting to read about biochemistry and the exciting medical treatments that scientists are developing to help us. As an economics major, I don't stop often enough to realize the new developments in science. Because of this class I have learned there are good and bad consequences for every new invention.

This class has opened my eyes to all kinds of sciences, biochemistry being a major one. There are so many things humanity can gain from the use of science, but it’s important to know what and why we are developing these technologies.

Biochemeistry is not something I know a lot about. Protein engineering seems like a very interesting subject. It seems like it would be very beneficial to society because it would be able to destroy pollutants or be a form of cancer treatment. protein synthetics also look to be a safe way to help the environment.

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This page contains a single entry by kerak002 published on December 7, 2009 12:11 PM.

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