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The Institute for Protein Design (IPD) has received a commitment of an initial $45 million in funding through The Audacious Project, a philanthropic collaborative.

“This is simply wonderful, and it comes at the best possible time,” said David Baker, the institute’s director and a UW School of Medicine professor of biochemistry. “As we get better and better at designing proteins to perform specific tasks, it has become possible to have bold new approaches to solving some of the most vexing problems in medicine today.”

The Institute for Protein Design, established at the UW School of Medicine in 2012 and housed within the Department of Biochemistry, has become a world leader in developing and applying methods for designing synthetic proteins. The institute will use The Audacious Project funds to pursue the computational design of:

  • A universal flu vaccine capable of providing lifetime immunization
  • New drug candidates with enhanced abilities to enter the brain
  • Advanced protein containers for targeted gene delivery (including the delivery of RNA into cells)
  • Smart proteins capable of identifying cancerous or otherwise unhealthy cells
  • Self-assembling protein nanomaterials for use in solar energy and nanofabrication

The Audacious Project brings together philanthropists interested in ideas with the potential to create global change. After several stages of competition, the IPD and seven other organizations were chosen to receive funding in 2019 and to present at TED2019, the TED conference being held this week in Vancouver, B.C.

For more information:

  • Visit The Audacious Project Big Ideas page.
  • Read the Institute for Protein Design media brief.
  • David Baker explains what protein design is and how it can advance medicine and materials science in a UW Medicine Newsroom video.



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