Scott Lesley, Ph.D.
Director of Protein Chemistry

Protein Sciences at GNF is a coordinated effort between scientists who are interested in developing new technology, scientists who seek to use these technologies to discover many new aspects of protein structure and function, and those who are interested in both.
Members of the Protein Sciences Department are experts in areas such as protein biochemistry and enzymology, X-ray crystallography, mass spectrometry, and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). We participate in a broad spectrum of activities, from independent and collaborative basic research to the discovery and optimization of lead compounds. We lead a diverse set of projects with a variety of research aims, including: 
  • Developing new technology to create cutting-edge ways of determining protein structure and function
  • Understanding the interactions between proteins and small molecules, many of which are relevant for basic science and drug discovery
  • Profiling how and where proteins are postranslationally modified in the cell and determining the ultimate effect of this modification
  • Identifying protein-protein interactions
  • Developing a structural genomics pipeline
  • Establishing expertise in protein classes including: proteases, kinases, nuclear receptors, axon guidance and membrane proteins 
  • Fostering collaborative research projects to elucidate protein structure and function.
Technology development has been an integral part of the Protein Sciences Department, and we continue to develop new methods and approaches for protein expression, purification, crystallization, NMR screening, and protein analysis. Through our interactions with the creative minds of the GNF Engineering Department, we have developed custom instrumentation that enables us to process proteins in parallel to achieve high throughput capability. This has allowed us to address protein structure/function in a global manner and has also made it possible to tackle challenging targets by providing the ability to evaluate large numbers of potential protein variants.

GNF has multiple issued patents and pending patent applications on technologies related to high throughput protein expression, purification, micro-crystallization, mass spectrometry instrumentation, and labeling techniques.

Our technologies include:
  • An automated cloning and mutagenesis platform
  • Parallel fermentation instrumentation
  • Automated protein purification platforms
  • Protein nanocrystallization equipment for x-ray crystallography
  • Identifying protein-protein interactions
  • Crystal imaging and analysis platforms
  • NMR small-molecule metabolite screening tools
  • Technology for the incorporation of unnatural amino acids into proteins
  • Unique mass labeling techniques