Emily C. Mundorff
Assistant Professor of Chemistry
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Degrees: PHD, 2000, Univ Calif Berkeley; BA, 1996, Vassar Coll
My research aims to alter or improve an enzyme’s native activity through knowledge-based enzyme design. I synthesize information gathered from crystal structures, homologous enzymes, and computational predictions to identify mutations that will alter or improve upon the enzyme’s native activity. Enzyme design has practical applications in the biofuel, chemical, bioremediation, and agricultural industries that may all benefit from highly selective enzymes for novel substrates. In addition, there are also many fundamental questions to be answered regarding how enzymes generate new functions. Do they need to be generalists that work with many substrates and then with selective pressure become specialists, or may a specialist switch specificity completely to a new substrate? A better understanding of the malleability of enzymes will help shed light on how nature evolves new functions.