Biological Design Group

Ronald Koder

Associate Professor of Physics
B.S. The University of Missouri Ph.D. The Johns Hopkins University Post-Doctoral The University of Pennsylvania

Synthetic Biologists are re-imagining the proteins that do the work of living cells as small modular devices, similar to electronic components like resistors and capacitors, that can be reassembled into novel biological functions and systems – much like electrical engineers assemble large numbers of simple electronic components into devices like computers and cellular phones. This is a significant change in the biological paradigm, and it will have as large an effect on people’s everyday lives decades from now as the development of molecular biology twenty years ago is having on our lives today.

Like the physicists of the 40s and 50s, who were focused on the design of simple electronic components like transistors and diodes, my lab uses the principles of protein design to create new biological components, not yet observed in nature, to further extend the possibilities of synthetic biology. Starting from scratch, we create novel proteins that offer new functions or physical properties and then integrate them with natural proteins, other designed proteins or non-protein materials to create new biomaterials with applications in medicine, ‘green’ industrial catalysis and green energy production.