ChBE Seminar Series - 3:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday April 13 - Allie Obermeyer (Mellichamp Lecture)

Wed Apr 13 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm
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Annual Mellichamp Lecture

Allie ObermeyerAssistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Columbia University

Title: "Engineering protein and polyelectrolyte interactions for cellular applications"

Abstract: Protein de-mixing has recently been implicated in the organization of cellular components. These phase separated membraneless organelles create distinct environments that are essential to cellular processes ranging from cell signaling to gene expression. Several membraneless organelles appear to have the same physical properties as complex coacervates – liquid-liquid phase separated mixtures of oppositely charged polyelectrolytes. However, protein polymers differ significantly from synthetic polyelectrolytes. Proteins are amphoteric, have low charge density, and frequently adopt a globular folded structure. These differences impact the complexation and phase separation of proteins with (bio)polyelectrolytes. We have engineered proteins to determine predictive design rules for intracellular complex coacervation with biological polyanions. We employ these design rules to create synthetic organelles by promoting phase separation of engineered proteins of interest in E. coli

Bio: Allie Obermeyer is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at Columbia University. The Obermeyer Group harnesses the biological and polymeric properties of proteins to create new materials. These studies blend approaches from chemical and synthetic biology, protein engineering, and polymer physics. Allie obtained her undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Rice University and performed undergraduate research in the laboratory of Seiichi P.T. Matsuda. She then joined the Department of Chemistry at UC Berkeley and earned a PhD degree under the guidance of Matthew Francis as a part of the Chemical Biology Graduate Program. She subsequently conducted postdoctoral training in the Chemical Engineering department at MIT as an Arnold Beckman postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Bradley Olsen. In 2017, she started her independent career at Columbia University. She has been the recipient of an NSF CAREER and NIH MIRA award.

About the Mellichamp Lecture:

In 2016, a gift from Suzanne C. and Duncan A. Mellichamp established a new lecture series at the School.

Duncan Mellichamp, who earned his bachelor’s degree at Georgia Tech, became a research engineer for DuPont before being recruited to help create the chemical engineering department at the University of California-Santa Barbara.

Previously the Mellichamps have endowed scholarships in Georgia Tech’s Schools of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Materials Science Engineering.


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