Atkins Lab

The Keywords

biochemistry, immunotherapy, biologics, protein purification

The Essence of What I Did

I synthesized, purified, and fluorescently tagged mAbs and bsAbs from HEK cells and analyzed their aggregation behavior in FBS. (2017)

The Project Background

Dr. Bill Atkins, Dept. of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Washington

While small molecule drugs were once considered the gold standard of therapeutic, biologics, like Humira and Keytruda, have revolutionized how we fight disease. Biologics are designed to target and fix the malfunctioning gene; this laser focus leads to diminished cytotoxicity and side effects when compared to drugs.  But, unlike drugs, biologics risk immunogenicity.

As part of the UW Pharmacological Sciences Summer Diversity Program (PSSDP), my research aimed to understand biologic immunogenicity by characterizing IgG binding behavior in FBS using FCS.  FBS mimicked a human blood environment, and I quantified mAb and bsAb interactions with blood proteins to predict whether bsAbs could diminish immunogenicity risks.  To run these analyses, I transfected HEK cells with the gene that produces our specific bsAbs.  After verifying the cells made the bsAbs, I purified and fluorescently tagged the bsAbs for analysis.

I presented my work in the UW Summer STEM Collaboration Symposium.