Skip to main content

2022 Allen Distinguished Investigator award

The Allen Distinguished Investigator program provides three-year grants between $1M and $1.5M to individuals and teams

Precision live single-cell nano-surgery for revealing proteome dynamics

Current techniques to access and understand large numbers of proteins from individual cells involve mechanically or chemically breaking cells open. These disruptive methods kill cells and can significantly muddle the very biological processes researchers aim to study. Gary Mo is developing “nano-scalpels” to precisely extract proteins from cells. This relies on a newly discovered method to reverse pore formation on the cellular plasma membrane. Mo and his team will make these pores open and close on demand, allowing them to take tiny biopsies from inside cells. By keeping cells functioning throughout such operations, they aim to follow and reveal the key features of proteomic balance within living cells.

This project is part of the 2022 Protein Lifespan cohort

Proteins are the building blocks of life — nearly all cellular structures and processes are built and carried out by proteins. Do our proteins age like our bodies age? While scientists have discovered how cells turn over old proteins to create new forms, it’s not clear how lifespan varies among different kinds of proteins, what it means to have “old” proteins, or how the cellular environment could affect protein aging. Researchers in this cohort are building new technologies and designing experiments to address important questions around protein lifespan and aging.

Science Programs at Allen Institute