Inchan Kwon


  • PhD, California Institute of Technology

Primary Appointment

  • Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering


Research Interest(s)

Amyloid inhibitors for Alzheimer’s disease, protein engineering, viral gene therapy, stem cell engineering, bio-inspired nanomaterials

Research Description

Proteins play important roles in all kinds of biological systems from viruses to human beings. Therefore, understanding the function and structure of proteins in biological systems is a very interesting and challenging area for engineers as well as scientists. Recent advances in protein engineering tools, such as rational design, unnatural amino acid mutagenesis and high-throughput screening of proteins, facilitate design of proteins with novel structures and functions. Therefore, our research focuses on application of protein engineering tools to design novel genetically engineered peptides/proteins that will be used to cure diseases, deliver drugs, and produce novel biomaterials.

Our group is currently working with amyloids, proteins and viral gene delivery vehicles. Amyloids feature cross-stacked beta-sheet structure and are associated with neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's . Our group is trying to modulate amyloid formation, which is very important for both neurodegenerative disease therapy, and understanding molecular mechanisms of amyloid formation.

Another main interest of our group is to engineer adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based gene delivery vehicles. AAV has been widely used in both basic research and clinical studies, due to its several favorable features including lack of pathogenicity, efficient infection of both dividing- and non-dividing cells, and long-term maintenance. However, AAV-based vectors should be modified further to be used in more diverse applications. Therefore, our group is working to design more effective AAV-based vectors and to evaluate delivery of novel genes for gene therapy application.

Selected Publications

  • Lim S, Mizuta Y, Takasu A, Kim Y, Kwon I. Site-specific bioconjugation of a murine dihydrofolate reductase enzyme by copper(I)-catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition with retained activity. PloS one. 2014;9(6): e98403. PMID: 24887377 | PMCID: PMC4041766
  • Gregoire S, Zhang S, Costanzo J, Wilson K, Fernandez E, Kwon I. Cis-suppression to arrest protein aggregation in mammalian cells. Biotechnology and bioengineering. 2013;111(3): 462-74. PMID: 24114411
  • Wong H, Irwin J, Kwon I. Halogenation generates effective modulators of amyloid-Beta aggregation and neurotoxicity. PloS one. 2013;8(2): e57288. PMID: 23468958 | PMCID: PMC3585355
  • Zhang Y, Wang N, Raab R, McKown R, Irwin J, Kwon I, van Kuppevelt T, Laurie G. Targeting of heparanase-modified syndecan-1 by prosecretory mitogen lacritin requires conserved core GAGAL plus heparan and chondroitin sulfate as a novel hybrid binding site that enhances selectivity. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2013;288(17): 12090-101. PMID: 23504321 | PMCID: PMC3636894
  • Gregoire S, Kwon I. A revisited folding reporter for quantitative assay of protein misfolding and aggregation in mammalian cells. Biotechnology journal. 2012;7(10): 1297-307. PMID: 22623352 | PMCID: PMC3517142
  • Jang J, Koerber J, Kim J, Asuri P, Vazin T, Bartel M, Keung A, Kwon I, Park K, Schaffer D. An evolved adeno-associated viral variant enhances gene delivery and gene targeting in neural stem cells. Molecular therapy : the journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy. 2011;19(4): 667-75. PMID: 21224831 | PMCID: PMC3070092
  • Takasu A, Kondo S, Ito A, Furukawa Y, Higuchi M, Kinoshita T, Kwon I. Artificial extracellular matrix proteins containing phenylalanine analogues biosynthesized in bacteria using T7 expression system and the PEGylation. Biomacromolecules. 2011;12(10): 3444-52. PMID: 21823658 | PMCID: NIHMS328250
  • Wong H, Kwon I. Xanthene food dye, as a modulator of Alzheimer's disease amyloid-beta peptide aggregation and the associated impaired neuronal cell function. PloS one. 2011;6(10): e25752. PMID: 21998691 | PMCID: PMC3187789
  • Zheng S, Kwon I. Manipulation of enzyme properties by noncanonical amino acid incorporation. Biotechnology journal. 2011;7(1): 47-60. PMID: 22121038