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Department of Biochemistry

We are a diverse and inclusive community conducting biochemical research at the forefront of current knowledge; educating medical students, graduate students and fellows; and serving the institution, the extended scientific community, and society at large. Our particular focus is the characterization of macromolecules and biological processes at the molecular level. Research groups in the department determine the structures of biological macromolecules, elucidate the mechanisms by which they function, and translate this information to advance research technology and medicine.

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Faculty Spotlight

Tyler Starr, PhD

Tyler Starr, PhD

Tyler Starr, PhD, is an incoming Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry. Dr. Starr received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics from the University of Chicago, where he studied protein evolution in the lab of Dr. Joe Thornton. He then moved to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, to conduct postdoctoral research on viral evolution in the lab of Dr. Jesse Bloom.

Dr. Starr’s research explores the evolutionary arms races between viruses and host factors involved in infection and immunity. Dr. Starr’s group uses high-throughput biochemical assays to characterize the mutational landscapes that define the protein-protein interactions between viral glycoproteins, host receptors, and antiviral antibodies. These “deep mutational scanning” datasets reveal the biophysical details of protein sequence-structure-function relationships and provide maps for interpreting and forecasting viral evolution and antibody development. Dr. Starr has applied these principles toward extensive studies of the pandemic SARS-CoV-2 virus, informing ongoing efforts in viral forecasting and aiding in the development of vaccines and monoclonal antibodies to combat COVID-19. His lab will continue to extend these approaches to understand the deeper molecular evolutionary features that drive the emergence of animal viruses that spill over into humans to cause pandemics and to inform the development of vaccines and antibodies that can treat or prevent future viral spillovers.

Dr. Starr was awarded an NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00) from the National Institutes of Allergies and Infectious Disease. This grant will kick start his lab’s explorations into the molecular evolution of the bat coronaviruses from which SARS-CoV-2 emerged, informing future efforts in viral surveillance and pandemic prevention.

Tyler's Lab Website

Upcoming Events

October 11, 2022

Re-imagining a cellular space occupied by condensates

A public 1-day symposium covering a range of topics, including condensate biology, visualization (including ...

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