Brian L. Ross researches the protein evolution, and applies this knowledge both to engineer novel enzymes as well as to answer fundamental questions about the emergence of new protein structures. He earned his PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, where he engineered fluorescent protein-based tools to study various levels of cellular function, including signal transduction and epigenetic regulation.
Dr. Ross continues the research he began as a PhD candidate at Johns Hopkins and as a Fulbright Scholar at the Weizmann Institute’s Department of Biomolecular Sciences, exploring ways in which engineered enzymes can be used to develop artificial metabolic pathways. In mimicking the natural evolutionary process, he works to develop new enzymes to implement engineered metabolic pathways for improved efficiency of carbon processing in plants. By improving the efficiency by which solar energy is converted into biomass and engineering a bypass to photorespiration, carbon loss will be reduced or eliminated, improving crop yield.
Dr. Ross applies phylogenetic analysis and sequences from diverse organisms to develop new pathways for previously unknown natural enzymes. He also explores the fundamental processes of protein evolution, specifically how new protein folds arise in the evolutionary process, to uncover an evolutionary link between proteins with different fold topologies.