Matthew D. Smith
I'm a graduate student from the Molecular and Cellular Biology program. My background is in directed evolution, specifically in mRNA display.
I did my undergraduate research with John Chaput at Arizona State University, where I worked on characterizing proteins from a mRNA display selection for ATP binding proteins. The paper we wrote about that work is here. This project introduced me to the extraordinary power and elegance of directed evolution techniques, and helped foster in me the love of science that brought me to the University of Washington and the Baker lab.
Here in the Baker lab I work on bringing the power of directed evolution techniques to enzyme design. So far, there have not been any examples (to my knowledge) of a de novo designed enzyme being evolved towards higher activity using high throughput methods. I am working on method development to make this possible, and enzyme design to generate leads which can then be evolved towards high activity.
I am also working on improving computational methods for enzyme design. By harnessing information about protein-small molecule interactions from protein structure data, I hope to improve our ability to design enzymes and ligand binding proteins.
Finally, here in the Baker lab, I am one of the researchers who helps advise the UW iGEM team. iGEM is an international synthetic biology competition where over one hundred teams work to advance synthetic biology, whether by engineering new pathways, evolving enzymes for new or improved activities, developing software tools, or developing parts which make synthetic biology easier. Last year we were very successful, winning a gold metal and the award (shared with another team) for Best Health or Medicine project. The team's project wiki is here.
I love being a part of this lab, where so much thoughtful and bold science is being performed, and where young scientists are introduced to synthetic biology and biochemistry.
For more information about me:
Here is my Google profile: Matthew Smith's Google profile
Here is my LinkedIn profile: Matthew Smith's LinkedIn profile
Here is my flavors.me: Matthew Smith's flavors.me