The immediate biomedical and biotechnological application of naturally occurring peptides and proteins is often hindered by their intrinsic weak binding affinities, poor selectivity and low stability. To overcome these limitations, we apply in vitro display technologies to develop molecules with superior chemical and physical properties. By using phage and yeast surface display techniques, peptides and proteins of interest are evolved according to Darwinian principles including diversification, selection and amplification. The engineered molecules are further produced and characterized experimentally using a broad range of analytical methodologies across multiple disciplines such as molecular, chemical and structural biology. The efficacy of the engineered molecules is finally assessed in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo. Examples of different ongoing peptide and protein engineering projects and their potential applications will be presented.
Alessandro Angelini was born in 1978 in Verona (Italy). He received his PhD degree in Biochemistry and Biotechnology under the supervision of Prof. G. Zanotti from the University of Padua (Italy) in 2008. From 2008 to 2011, he was a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Prof. C. Heinis at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and from 2012 to 2016 a research scientist in the laboratory of Prof. K. D. Wittrup at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Since 2017, he is a tenure-track assistant professor (RTD-B) at the Department of Molecular Science and Nanosystems at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. His research is primarily focused on the development of therapeutic peptides and proteins using in vitro directed evolution approaches.