08/02/2017 - 12:00 - Auditori PRBB

How do proteins evolve?

Scientific sessions, CRG Group Leader Seminars

Dan S. Tawfik

Department of Biological Chemistry, Weizmann Institute of Science. Rehovot, Israel (visiting scientist at the CRG)

Short biography:
Dan Tawfik was born in Jerusalem, and received his BSc in chemistry and an MSc in biotechnology from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. His PhD was obtained at the Weizmann Institute of Science (1995). Following six years in Cambridge UK, he joined the Weizmann Institute of Science (2001). Dan’s research seeks a detailed, atomic understanding of the mechanisms that underlie the birth of new proteins, and enzymes especially. The lab is studying a variety of cases of enzyme evolution, spanning from 3.7 billion years ago (emergence of the first protein enzymes) to our own time (emergence of pesticide and antibiotics degrading enzymes), and also form different environments including the oceans.

Dan is a currently a visiting scientist at the CRG, for the coming 5 months. His hobbies include burning calories by rock climbing and regaining them with good food – two excellent reasons for being here on top of many common scientific interests with the CRG’s and other scientists in Barcelona.

Talk abstract:
He will describe some insights regarding how new proteins functions evolve, via gradual, small changes in sequence. However, the mechanisms of such evolutionary micro-transitions do not explain the macro evolutionary transitions – how completely new proteins emerge, let alone how the very first enzyme(s) evolve. He will discuss his recent findings with respect to the de novo emergence of functional, globular proteins from short peptides.