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Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars Programme


  Huey Ying Kok


  Pharmacology, Girton College

  PhD thesis: Designer proteins to interrogate and inhibit oncogenic tankyrase in colorectal cancer



Research interests:

  1. Protein design and engineering
  2. Cancer therapeutics
  3. Tandem-repeat proteins

Tandem-repeat proteins are simple molecules comprised of small structural units repeated multiple times in tandem. The simplicity and design-ability of these proteins make them a versatile tool that can be exploited for therapeutic purposes. During my PhD, I will design, build and test tandem-repeat proteins that can direct hyperactive proteins to the cell’s own recycling machinery. The end goal is to remove these cancer-causing proteins and attenuate malignant phenotypes.

Who or what inspired you to pursue your research interests?

During my undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology, I became interested in proteins – the molecular machines that do work in cells. I am fascinated by how intricate protein-protein interactions culminate in an observable trait on the cellular, tissue or even the system level. I am grateful to have been taught by many inspiring mentors and given the opportunity to work on a range of research projects. These experiences solidified my interest in protein biology and its application in the field of drug development.