Steven Banik, Ph.D.


Steven Banik, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor and ChEM-H Institute Scholar
Stanford University
450 Jane Stanford Way
City, State, ZIP
Stanford, CA 94305–2004
[email protected]
Research field
Chemical biology
Award year


The Banik lab explores how to identify and harness the natural ability of cells to ingest materials from their environment to facilitate the delivery of proteins to subcellular compartments and the cytoplasm. Accessing the cytoplasm from intracellular vesicles is difficult due to the strict regulation of pH in these compartments and the necessity to cross biological membranes. Viruses and pathogens often co-opt these pathways to enter into cells. While in this “endosomal system,” they use enzymes to remodel the endosomal membranes to facilitate escape into the cellular cytoplasm to avoid destruction or replicate. Using methods in protein engineering, synthetic biology, molecular genetics, and cell imaging, we will examine and engineer the activity of a set of enzymes so that they function specifically to allow proteins to escape entrapment in endosomes. Coupling these efforts with new sensors that allow monitoring this process in living cells will help identify the cellular and genetic factors that aid in this process. Ultimately we seek to harness advances in protein design to inhibit the overactive oncogenes most frequently associated with human cancers. My work could lead to the development of a system for optimizing the delivery of therapeutic drugs for a range of diseases, from cancers to neurodegenerative disorders.

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