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ERIC Number: EJ1202238
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019-Jan
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Unnatural Chemical Biology: Research-Based Laboratory Course Utilizing Genetic Code Expansion
Kean, Kelsey M.; van Zee, Kari; Mehl, Ryan A.
Journal of Chemical Education, v96 n1 p66-74 Jan 2019
The content and design scheme for a readily adaptable, research-based laboratory course in chemical biology are presented. In this course, students interrogate protein structure and function using the site-specific incorporation of noncanonical amino acids by genetic code expansion. The relatively new field of genetic code expansion enables protein engineering with a diverse array of chemical functional groups. In this quarter or semester research-based undergraduate laboratory experience, student teams design, synthesize, and evaluate the structure-function relationships of proteins containing noncanonical amino acids on the basis of a self-selected hypothesis and then communicate their results in a formal manuscript and research presentation. The flexibility and versatility of genetic code expansion and this course structure empower students to engineer novel biomolecules and highlight the use of organic-chemistry principles for interrogating proteins. Generating noncanonical protein variants that have never been produced previously exposes students to novel research and trains them in essential basic biochemistry skills. This research-based undergraduate laboratory course can easily be adapted, scaled, and implemented on the basis of the interests, demographics, and resources of a given institution.
Division of Chemical Education, Inc. and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A