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Disease diagnosis, bioengineering covered at state nano summit

Research into the evolution of protein design by a University of Houston professor will be featured among nearly 20 presentations at the 2005 Nano Summit Research Conference July 28.

Kurt L. Krause, an associate professor of biology and biochemistry at UH, will give a presentation at 11 a.m. on the "Role of Protein Design in Bionanotechnology."

Sponsored by the Nanotechnology Foundation of Texas, the 2005 Nano Summit is a daylong forum for Texas natural science, engineering and medical researchers to meet and exchange information on their respective areas of expertise. With a focus on major nanoscience research activities across Texas, the conference also is of benefit to corporate research and development executives, as well as students in related disciplines. UH is a co-host of the event.

Held from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Edwin Hornberger Conference Center in the Texas Medical Center in Houston, the Nano Summit will provide presentations, a poster session and networking opportunities that cover leading nanotechnology research and practical applications in life science, materials science, energy, electronics and semiconductors. Both presenters and attendees will be able to explore the specific research needs and opportunities associated with the multidisciplinary field that is nanotechnology.

Krause's work deals with the significant effort in bionanotechnology today being devoted to the use of naturally occurring proteins in the diagnosis and treatment of disease and as reagents in bioengineering applications. The proteins used in these experiments are almost always naturally occurring and derived from living organisms. However, these proteins are not optimized to carry out anything other than their natural role. Krause proposes that if the widespread use of proteins in nanotechnology is to be achieved, then much more will need to be done in the area of protein design.

He will discuss current advances in the use of selec tion and randomization to intelligently evolve protein function, as well as the role of these advances in the application of nanotechnology. For instance, in Krause's laboratory, what starts off as a mere molecule may soon become a potential drug to treat HIV, one of the diseases he actively targets with his research.


Source:University of Houston

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