Proteins are the workhorses in all living cells and, as such, form the basis of all living systems. In order to fully understand biological processes, it is critical to be able to identify and quantify the proteins in cells at any given time in the cell cycle. This can be done by sequencing since each protein has a unique amino acid sequence. However, practical realization of protein sequencing remains an enormous challenge. Small sample size, in which the numbers of specific proteins can differ by orders of magnitude, and the necessity to distinguish 20 different amino acids are only a few of the obstacles currently limiting our ability to sequence proteins. Furthermore, proteins cannot be amplified outside the cell, unlike DNA and RNA, which complicates the sequencing task. The plethora of protein modifications and alternative splicing further increases the complexity of the proteome to several million distinct protein molecules in a cell.
We are looking for a highly motivated student with significant biophysics or engineering research experience to develop a novel sequencing technique that probes the protein profile using aptamers with sub-nanometre resolution. This high-resolution method, combined with nanotechnology, will be used for analysing proteoforms, particularly, splicing isoforms and post-translational modifications. We will be able to sequence single proteins and their proteoforms and therefore create the opportunity for single-cell proteomics and screening for on-site medical diagnostics. It will lead to a revolution in biophysics, biotechnology, and healthcare. Do you want to join developing this ground-breaking technology? Check the application procedure below.