Applied Synthetic Biology
Synthetic biology is a new, rapidly expanding field that fuses elements from biology and engineering with the aim of designing and creating life forms with unprecedented properties and functions. Synthetic biologists have increased the coding potential of several organisms to allow genetic incorporation of additional "unnatural" amino acids into proteins. These unnatural amino acids have unique chemical or biophysical properties or carry naturally-occurring (post-translational) modifications and are therefore fascinating new tools to investigate cellular processes.
Using these tools, we are developing new strategies to introduce spectroscopic probes into proteins to study the dynamic properties of chromatin. We are also interested in the effect of the post-translational acetylation of lysine residues on protein structure and function.