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Linnea Hjelm

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About me

Working for a healthy, aging population

Novel therapeutics for neurodegenerative disorders (ND) are highly demanded by the society since the treatment methods are few and low-efficient. Today, ND cost the society above $818 billions yearly, and will continuously increase due to a globally aging population. One of the challenges when developing treatments for ND include limited access of drugs into the brain where they will be efficient. In my research projects we engineer two in-house developed small affinity proteins called sequestrins and affibodies. These can in turnbe combined into one large protein used for both targeting ND and brain delivery.

The sequestrins, have been engineered to bind to disease causing proteins found in ND. As for example by binding to amyloid beta in Alzheimer’s disease, limiting both the damage on the brain and disease development. To find a protein that does this, we have created a large sequestrin combinatorial library that by using phage display, can single out only a few specific versions of the sequestrin that target one specific disease.

The affibodies have similarly been engineered and selected from a large pool. These variants are able to be transported into the brain by piggybacking on the natural iron delivery to the brain by the Transferrin-Transferrin Receptor pathway. Alongside the advances of this protein engineering we have developed screening techniques of this transportation process without the need of using animal models to select between versions of the affibody.

By using these two advances of engineered sequestrins and affibodies we hope to take a step closer to creating a therapeutic option for both in diagnosis and in treatment in ND, with the dual function of delivery and treatment properties in one single protein.


Purification of Biomolecules (BB1210), assistant | Course web