This week, I really enjoyed seeing what everyone was working on in their labs. There was an impressive amount of variety, and everybody’s topics were incredibly interesting. 8 minutes is not a lot of time to capture one’s project, and while there are many people I would love to follow up with and learn more from, I found myself particularly drawn to the chalk talks that were most closely aligned with my own project. In particular, listening to Bryan talk about the development of HaloTag.
Through my own project, I was aware that HaloTag technology was recently developed at Duke. However, my focus has centered around the applications juxtaposed to the creation and engineering of the ligands. Hearing Bryan talk about the development of multiple types of HaloTag, each with its own cell-specific applications, opened my eyes to how powerful this technology could be. The notion that they could design a ligand to specifically bind to thereby manipulate any type of receptor is insane and has seemingly endless pharmacological applications! The work he is doing in determining the optimal ligand-receptor pairs was incredibly interesting. It made me realize the diversity in future directions of research which is exciting and one of the facets I love about it!