Fast-acting Insulins from Cone Snails

Faster acting human insulins are needed to improve the efficacy of diabetic insulin pumps. Over the past few years, collaborating teams led by Olivera, Safavi-Hemami, Schlegel, Yandell, and Chou have made the remarkable discovery that fish-hunting cone snails use fast-acting insulins to inactivate their prey by inducing hypoglycemia. Continue reading → Fast-acting Insulins from Cone Snails

Research Statement

We focus on using synthetic protein engineering to create peptide or protein therapeutics with the goals to understand their biological effects in human diseases and improve clinical benefits in treating patients. Specifically, we use synthetic chemistry methods to introduce unnatural moieties into native proteins and peptides to generate analogues with enhanced properties. We are interested in tackling type 1 diabetes (T1D), an autoimmune disease in which the pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables glucose uptake from blood. By developing novel insulin and glucagon analogues, we hope to maintain normal blood glucose levels in type 1 diabetic patients.

Currently, we are focusing on the following research programs:

  • New insulin and glucagon analogues for the use in artificial pancreas
  • Glucose-responsive insulin or “smart insulin”
  • Synthetic methodology for creating peptide and protein analogues

Danny Chou Lab