2022 MSDE Outstanding Early-Career award Winner: Gregory Hudalla

Dr. Gregory Hudalla has been honored with the 2022 Molecular Systems Design & Engineering Outstanding Early-Career Paper Award for his exemplary leadership in the paper, ‘Heterogeneous protein co-assemblies with tunable functional domain stoichiometry.’

Hudalla’s research focuses on creating functional biomaterials for therapeutic or diagnostic applications through molecular self-assembly. His laboratory specializes in developing synthetic peptides that assemble into precise nano-scale architectures, serving as “tags” to organize biologically active molecules into functional nanomaterials.

One remarkable achievement of Hudalla’s research is the development of glycosylated nanofibers that inhibit the immunomodulatory activity of galectins, a family of carbohydrate-binding proteins. Additionally, he combines enzymes and carbohydrate-binding proteins to create catalytic nanomedicines anchored to tissues at an injection site via binding to extracellular carbohydrates. These efforts align with his goal of developing biomaterials to modulate immune responses for treating autoimmune diseases and aberrant inflammation.

The award-winning paper explores the synthetic mimicking of natural processes wherein precise heterogeneous co-assembly of different protein domains results in the formation of supramolecular machines. Hudalla and his team demonstrate a synthetic approach to achieve heterogeneous co-assembly of proteins into supramolecular structures with tunable subunit stoichiometry. Through the fusion of distinct peptide strands of a heterotrimeric α-helical coiled-coil, the researchers accomplish the formation of ternary complexes capable of emitting blue, green, and red light via sequential bioluminescence and fluorescence resonance energy transfer (BRET/FRET). The modular nature of the fusion protein design and precise control of domain stoichiometry offer access to a more excellent range of subunit combinations, opening avenues for the development of designer supramolecular machines with enhanced functional capabilities.

The Molecular Systems Design & Engineering Outstanding Early-Career Paper Award aims to recognize researchers in the early stages of their careers for their leadership in reporting original research published in the journal. Each year, the Editorial Board selects a paper that demonstrates the highest quality of research and holds significant importance in advancing the field of molecular engineering.

The selection process for the 2022 award involved shortlisting eligible articles published throughout the year, followed by an assessment by the journal’s Editorial Board. The winner was chosen based on the significance, impact, and quality of the research presented in the paper.
His leadership in the award-winning paper underscores his dedication to advancing the frontiers of molecular engineering, promising transformative solutions for therapeutic, diagnostic, and biotechnological applications.