Favour Obuseh

MIT Department: Biological Engineering
Undergraduate Institution: University Of Texas at San Antonio
Faculty Mentor: Jaquin Niles
Website: LinkedIn

2019 Research Poster


Hello I am Favour Obuseh, a rising junior, from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Currently, I’m working on completing my undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering. I am interested in biomaterials, the optimization of scaffolds to improve angiogenesis. I like to learn new things. Whenever I am not in the lab doing research or homework, you can find me running, hiking or meditating. One of my goals is to obtain a PhD in biomedical engineering.

2019 Research Abstract

Evaluating Bacterial Strains for Producing Difficult-to-Express Plasmodium Falciparum Proteins

Favour Obuseh1,2, Khan Osman2 and Jacquin C. Niles2

1 Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Texas at San Antonio
2 Department of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge MA 02139.

Plasmodium falciparum is a deadly parasite that causes malaria, which kills approximately 450,000 people annually. The parasite utilizes a wide array of proteins to ensure survival during its parasitic life cycle in human and mosquito hosts. By recombinantly expressing and purifying Plasmodium proteins, we can study their functions and discover inhibitory molecules. Such molecules can be useful starting points for developing new antimalarial drugs. Escherichia coli is the most commonly used cell for Plasmodium protein expression. However, many proteins cannot be expressed in soluble form using E. coli. We hypothesize that Vibrio natriegens (Vmax Express, SGI) can be used as an alternative host cell to produce “difficult-to-express” Plasmodium proteins. Vmax Express cells are potentially promising, as they replicate faster and can produce greater quantities of soluble proteins compared to E. coli. Here, we have attempted to express multiple P. falciparum proteins that have not been expressed successfully in E. coli. We have purified the proteins that express in either E. coli or Vmax or both and performed some initial experiments to biophysically characterize them. We have also compared protein expression across different E. coli strains. Our results will help inform the suitability of different bacterial expression cell lines for expressing P. falciparum proteins.