Professor Patrick Barth is Associate Professor at EPFL and Adjunct Associate Professor at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA. He received training in Physics, Chemistry and Biology (University of Paris, ENS) in France and performed his PhD at the Commissiariat a l'Energie Atomique in Saclay, France on structure/function studies of membrane proteins (photosystem I) using biochemical and biophysical experimental techniques. He carried out postdoctoral studies at University of California at Berkeley with Tom Alber on computational development for calculating protein electrostatics and designing de novo selective peptide inhibitors of cellular protein interactions. He then went to the University of Washington as a postdoctoral fellow and instructor in David Baker's laboratory to develop computational techniques in the software Rosetta for predicting and designing membrane protein structures. He started his independent career and received tenure at Baylor College of Medicine. He will continue at EPFL to marry computation and experiment for understanding the molecular determinants of signal transduction, as well as modeling and designing membrane proteins with novel functions for various synthetic biology and therapeutic applications.
At the Laboratory of Protein and Cell Engineering, we work at the interface of biophysics, chemical, structural, computational and cell biology to uncover the molecular principles and mechanisms which regulate protein and cellular signaling. Using this knowledge, we (1) design protein systems with novel biosensing and signaling functions for synthetic biology and engineered cell therapeutic applications, (2) predict the effects of genetic variations on protein structure/function for personalized cancer medicine applications.
We are particularly interested in deciphering the molecular underpinnings regulating signaling and transport across biological membranes which control cellular processes but have been particularly challenging to study experimentally and remain poorly understood.
The outstanding questions that we currently address include:
1. Can we develop of computational techniques that accurately model and design membrane protein structure and interactions with small drug, lipid and peptide molecules?
2. Can we design membrane receptors with reprogrammed signaling properties for synthetic biology and neurobiological applications?
3. Can we design membrane protein systems to rewire signaling pathways in engineered immune cells for improving cancer immunotherapies?
4. Can we interrogate genome sequences with protein modeling for precision personalized cancer medicine?