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BE Seminar: “Synthetic and Chemical Biology Routes to Unveiling Host-Pathogen Dialogue” (Aerin Yang, Stanford)

March 21 at 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Disease processes within the human body are shaped by the dynamic interplay between
invading pathogens and the host’s defense mechanisms. The intricate molecular
interaction involves continuous modifications of both host and pathogen proteins, driven
by posttranslational modifications (PTMs) and coevolutionary mutations, to finely regulate
their interactions with binding partners. In this talk, I will elucidate my research efforts
aimed at unraveling these complex molecular interactions through the integration of
chemical and synthetic biology approaches. Firstly, I will delve into my work about
chemical biology pathways for site-specific protein modification, advancing our
understanding of PTM biology. Next, I will describe the recently invented “library-on-
library” approaches designed to co-evolve protein-protein interactions (PPIs). This
technique addresses a pivotal challenge in understanding crucial PPIs in immunology,
including those within host-pathogen interfaces.

Aerin Yang, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Researcher, Stanford University School of Medicine

Aerin is a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University, working with Dr. Chris Garcia. Her
research centers on engineering cell surface receptors/ligands and developing protein
engineering tools to study protein-protein coevolution. She earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry
from KAIST, South Korea, mentored by Dr. Hee-Sung Park. Her graduate thesis focused on
developing chemical biology tools for site-specific modification of proteins and
investigating the fundamental mechanisms of post-translational modifications, which was
recognized with multiple awards and honors, including an Agarwal Award, a Dow Chemical
Award, and a Best Thesis Award from KAIST. She came to Stanford to work on engineering
protein-protein interactions by interdisciplinary approaches. During her postdoctoral
training, she pioneered a synthetic platform for coevolving two proteins using a “library-on-
library” approach, which can be integrated with machine learning to provide unparalleled
granularity in exploring protein-protein interactions. Aerin’s contributions have been
published in reputable journals, and she has received recognition such as HFSP
Postdoctoral Fellowships.


March 21
3:30 PM - 4:30 PM
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Raisler Lounge (Room 225), Towne Building
220 South 33rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104 United States
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