Bernardo Cervantes

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Faculty Mentor: Kristala Prather

Direct Supervisor: Aditya Kunjapur

Home University: University of California, Berkeley

Major: Bioengineering

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Biography

Having been raised in Tijuana, Mexico and coursing higher education in the United States, I consider myself a multiculturally conscious individual with a great passion for science. I am currently a senior at the University of California, Berkeley studying Bioengineering. My research interests involve an interdisciplinary approach (including synthetic biology and stem cell applications) to advancing the understanding of various disease mechanisms in the central nervous system. Outside of the academic realm, I am a big soccer fan and sailing enthusiast.

Abstract

Characterizing the Effects of Peptide Tags on Enzyme Expression and Activity

Recent advancements in synthetic biology and metabolic engineering are leading the way towards the use of model bacterial organisms for the production of desirable chemicals.  One technique that can be used to increase product titers is the use of synthetic protein scaffolds, which recruit and co-localize targeted pathway enzymes. Although this technique has been successfully applied to certain pathways, it is not clear how the scaffolds can enhance flux nor are we able to predict their effect in other pathways. The scaffolding system relies on the addition of short peptide tags to the targeted enzymes, and these tags may affect both the expression and activity of the enzymes. By characterizing the previously mentioned effects of tags on enzymes in a model pathway we aim to increase our understanding of synthetic protein scaffolds.