The Principal's Innovation Award is a new competition for 2020. It is open to all research staff including PDRAs, for high risk, blue sky projects that have transformative potential.
Dr Jarvis's awarded will allow her to develop research into amino acids.
Amino acids are the fundamental building blocks of life. The 20 canonical amino acids (CAAs) are the simple monomeric units of the proteome – and make-up all the enzymes and proteins needed for life. In the last 20 years fundamental knowledge of the central dogma of molecular biology, combined with chemical biology techniques, has led to genetic code expansion (GCE) beyond the 20 CAAs. This has allowed the incorporation of >200 unnatural amino acids (UAAs) to increase the chemical diversity of proteins and thus can be used to create proteins with new functions. For society to truly benefit from these advances we need to be able to make proteins containing UAAs on a large scale. This project will bring together a team from across the CSE to develop a robust platform technology for the large-scale preparation of proteins containing UAAs. Ultimately this will allow us to create novel enzymes, biomaterials, and pharmaceuticals, with radically different properties to existing biological products. Examples include enzymes that work at lower temperatures to reduce the energy needed in washing clothes, or new biologics that can target hard to treat illnesses such as autoimmune diseases.
I am excited by the award of the PIA as it will allow us to kickstart collaborations across the CSE and obtain preliminary results for an ambitious project.