Mark Schmitz

Visiting scientist
Contact: kramred [at] gmail.com

Proteins are essential for most aspects of living cells. These fascinating macromolecules are fundamental constituents of life as we know it. The amino acid sequence of a protein normally determines its three dimensional structure, which is often closely coupled to the fitness and function of the protein.

My desire is to contribute to a better understanding of the principles governing protein folding, by which an unstructured polypeptide is able to quickly adopt its stably folded conformation.

One approach is the experimental study of known proteins, a second approach is the search for truly novel proteins, which I pursued during by PhD thesis. And a third approach is the theoretical study of known or novel proteins using computational methods to infer protein fitness from sequence information.

Using statistical methods we here aim to adapt and improve the theoretical models to better represent the measured, true underlying fitness landscape of proteins. Thereby, we hope to be able to contribute to a better understanding of protein evolution and the forces driving protein folding.

To achieve these goals, I have decided to join forces with the Evolutionary Dynamics lab at the IGC as a visiting scientist, starting in September 2016.