Protein engineering is a promising tool to improve clinical diagnostic methods for efficient, accurate, low-cost, and timely tests. Antibodies are commonly used in diagnostics as the capture and reporter reagents to immobilize and label the target biomarker in a sample. However, antibodies often have undesirable characteristics, including issues with thermostability, cross-reactivity, and production costs, that make them non-ideal for in vitro diagnostic purposes. To replace antibodies in diagnostic tests, we are investigating a small, thermostable binding protein scaffold that fulfills our design criteria. Using protein engineering techniques, we are developing specific binders against target biomarkers for infectious diseases. Additionally, through engineering design, we are investigating methods to increase sensitivity of our assays after incorporation of these proteins into point-of-care diagnostic tests.
Carmen Tobos*, Seunghyeon Kim*, David Rissin, Joseph Johnson, Scott Douglas, Susan Yan, Shuai Nie, Bradley Rice, Ki-Joo Sung, Hadley Sikes, David Duffy. “Sensitivity and Binding Kinetics of an Ultra-Sensitive Chemiluminescent Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay at Arrays of Antibodies,” Journal of Immunological Methods, 2019, in press. *these authors contributed equally
Qifan Zhang, Lukas Zeininger, Ki-Joo Sung, Eric A Miller, Kosuke Yoshinaga, Hadley D. Sikes, and Timothy M. Swager. “Emulsion Agglutination Assay for the Detection of Protein-Protein Interactions: An Optical Sensor for Zika Virus,” ACS Sensors, 2019, 4 (1): 180–184. DOI: 10.1021/acssensors.8b01202.
Ki Joo Sung, Eric A. Miller and Hadley D. Sikes. “Engineering hyperthermostable rcSso7d as reporter molecule for in vitro diagnostic tests,” Molecular Systems Design & Engineering, 2018, 3: 877-882. DOI: 10.1039/C8ME00049B.
Brooke E. Tam, Ki-Joo Sung and Hadley D. Sikes. “Engineering affinity agents for the detection of hemi-methylated CpG sites in DNA,”Molecular Systems Design and Engineering, 2016, 1: 273-277. DOI: 10.1039/C6ME00073H.