ProteinHack2023 will focus on designing a diverse set of taste modifying proteins engineered with the properties required to become a sustainable sugar replacement. A number of proteins capable of mimicking sweet sensation exist in nature. These small proteins are 100,000 times sweeter than sugar, so very little of them is needed to trigger the sensation of sweet taste. However, like many other natural proteins, native taste modifying proteins are not suitable for mass production. In “the shades of taste” protein design hackathon we will work together to both build tools required for better defining the taste stimulating properties of proteins as well as design a set of “de novo '' sweet proteins suitable for replacing sugar in soft drinks and other consumables.
Why? It takes an estimated 170-320 liters of water to produce a 0.5 liter bottle of soda. The main reason, sugar, has “arguably had as great an impact on the environment as any agricultural commodity,” (WWF). Aside from the direct impact on freshwater resources, the production of raw materials for soft drinks leads to significant biodiversity depletion in key tropical habitats. Intensive sugar farming releases large amounts of chemicals into the environment in the tropics and beyond. The ingredients used in soft drinks are toxic to the environment. Soft drink manufacturing uses a lot of water which is then contaminated with a variety of synthetic molecules, byproducts from hydroponic growing equipment and phosphoric acid, which can be harmful when it reaches natural water bodies. Protein based soft drinks hold the potential of mitigating much of the adverse environmental impact caused by the soft drinks industry. Replacing sugar and other synthetic molecules with minute quantities of taste modulating protein could also counter the adverse effect of soft drinks on human health. Beyond weight gain and dental damage, routinely drinking these sugar-loaded beverages can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, as well as other chronic diseases.
- Designing a set of taste modulating proteins
- Predicting protein ligand affinity in the context of taste receptors
- Predicting ordered water in and around proteins
What to bring: A laptop (preferably Linux based), good spirit
Protein design is rapidly emerging branch of technology with the potential to disrupt multiple industries and mediate a shift towards a more circular economy.
Recent breakthroughs in ML based protein design have democratized the field and open an opportunity to conduct workshops and hackathons.
Our vision is to democratize protein design enabling teams of talented creative entrepreneurs to tackle challenging environmental problems.
- is a protein designer at the Baker Lab. The Institute of Protein Design (IPD), Washington, USA. He holds a PhD in immunobiology from the Hebrew University and a BSc in Economics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, the University of London. As a protein designer he is particularly interested in understanding and developing methods to design protein-inorganic hybrid materials, a technology that he believes could contribute to the development of sustainable electronics and batteries.
17.00 - Meet & Greet
17.15 - Introduction
17.45 - Break - Enter the forms so that we can divide people into groups
18.00 - Divide people into groups
18.15 - Food
18.45 - Technical aspects to be able to design protein
19.15 - Setup session - each group are preparing everything
19.45 - Hackathon begins
08.00 - Breakfast
12.00 - Lunch
13.00 - Wrapping for the final session
14.30 - Final Session - Each group presents (15 minutes each)
16.00 - Summary
17.00 - Thank you