Jan Kostecki, Ph.D.Ph.D. Cornell University, 2009B.S. University of California, Berkeley, 2004
Jan is dedicated to experimentally validating, improving and expanding the usefulness of computational protein design (CPD) in the area of infectious disease research. He is developing methods to rapidly and cost effectively build antibody libraries based on CPD predictions, which aim to improve the potency of broadly neutralizing anti-influenza antibodies for use in combating pandemic flu. Large (~109) CPD libraries can be expressed by yeast display and screened by FACS to identify variants with improved binding characteristics. Combining state of the art molecular biology techniques, internally developed protocols and high through put sequencing; the identities of the isolated antibodies can be determined. In collaboration with the Bjorkman Lab, these engineered antibodies are tested for their ability to neutralize various strains of influenza and guide the next rounds of CPD.
In addition, he is engineering metalloenzymes called methane monooxygenases (MMOs), which selectively oxidize methane into methanol under ambient conditions and in an environmentally friendly manner. In collaboration with the Rosenzweig lab at Northwestern and Protabit, a local protein design startup, he has applied his library mutagenesis protocols to cover the CPD predictions and dovetail into the protein-engineering pipeline developed by Dr. Nisthal. Applications of these methods have decreased library build out time and he continues to contribute to the project through his expertise in protein expression, protein purification and subsequent biophysical characterization.