The research in the Kaar lab is broadly focused at the intersection of protein engineering, biocatalysis, and materials. We are specifically interested in how the convergence of these areas can lead to new opportunities to discover enzymes with improved properties and impart materials with biological function. Such opportunities have enabled the repertoire of synthetically important reactions that can be catalyzed by enzymes to be significantly expanded. Additionally, through understanding and controlling the interaction of proteins with materials, it is feasible to design materials that sense and destroy toxic chemicals (e.g., chemical warfare agents), resist fouling and self-repair, improve tissue engineering, and meld seamlessly with the body. A major element of this research, which is highly multi-disciplinary, is to address fundamental questions about the function and fate of proteins in non-native and harsh conditions. These questions are addressed at the molecular level by using an amalgamation of biochemical, biophysical, and structural determination techniques.
Open Positions Currently Available
We currently have openings for graduate students and postdoc positions. Prospective graduate students should apply to our graduate programs in the Chemical & Biological Engineering Department website. Interested postdoc applicants should apply by sending their CV directly to Prof. Joel Kaar.