headshot of CHRISTOPHER SNOW Associate Professor Chemical & Biological Engineering

Christopher Snow, PhD

Associate Professor, Chemical & Biological Engineering

Why I Innovate

It is a fantastic era in which to be a molecular engineer. We benefit from exponential improvements in enabling technology such as computer power and DNA sequencing. Other key technologies such as gene synthesis and library-scale protein engineering also make it easier than ever to experimentally test designed biomolecules in the lab. When imagination is the only limit, it is natural to pursue your most creative ideas. Innovation follows as a matter of course.

Areas of Collaborative Interest

The research within my group focuses on computer-guided protein and DNA engineering, particularly the engineering of crystals. We are exploring applications of these crystals for catalysis, biosensing, drug delivery, information storage, and structural biology. Porous crystalline scaffolds allow us to build new materials with unprecedented control (~1 nm) over the spatial positioning of functional domains. By building tough new functional materials entirely out of protein and DNA new possibilities arise (e.g. edible sensors or synthetic DNA marking materials). We also aim to develop new methodology for reliable computational protein engineering, and to apply these methods to develop new enzymes. Where possible, we take advantage of our expertise in molecular simulation to validate protein/nucleic acid design prior to experimental testing.

I am interested in collaborating in the following areas:

  • Synthetic biology
  • Structural biology
  • Directed evolution
  • Library scale protein engineering
  • Enzyme engineering
  • Macromolecular crystallography
  • Protein structure prediction
  • New algorithms for reliable computational protein engineering
  • Licensing our technologies


As a collaborator, my group offers the following technical skills:

  • Biomolecular crystal growth screening (protein, DNA)
  • Protein structure modeling and analysis
  • Computation-guided protein or enzyme engineering
  • Development of enzyme assays and directed evolution campaigns
  • Structure determination via X-ray diffraction
  • Confocal microscopy expertise
Selected Issued Patents
  • US10590176B2:  Engineered programmable molecular scaffolds from porous protein crystals

Patent list generated using Google Patents; Last updated on 7/12/2021

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