Laboratory of Therapeutic Proteins and Peptides

Our laboratory aims at developing new therapeutics based on cyclic peptides. A major focus is the in vitro evolution of bicyclic peptides by phage display.

Open Positions:

PhD projects: We expect to soon open new PhD positions in cyclic peptide drug development (combinatorial chemistry, HTS, drug development). For interested students, please send a CV and cover letter to Prof. Christian Heinis.

Master projects: We are looking for enthusiastic master students. Candidates are invited to send their CV via email to Prof. Christian Heinis.

Currently we focus on the following three projects:

Development of drugs based on cyclic peptides

The ultimate goal of our laboratory is the development of therapeutics for addressing unmet medical needs. We work with cyclic peptides because they can engage with difficult protein targets to which classical small molecules can hardly bind.

Phage display selection of bicyclic peptides

Phage display technology allows for the genetic encoding of billions of different peptide sequences. We combine phage display and chemical reactions to generate and screen large combinatorial libraries of bicyclic peptides.

High-throughput synthesis of macrocycles

A major goal of our laboratory is the development of cell permeable or even orally available macrocycles that bind to targets of interest. Towards this end, we develop methods for the combinatorial synthesis of large libraries of sub-kDa macrocycles.

Selected recent publications

De novo development of small cyclic peptides that are orally bioavailable

Merz, M.L., Habeshian, S., Li, B., David, J.-A.G.L., Nielsen, A.L., Ji, X., Il Khwildy, K., Duany Benitez, M.M., Phothirath, P. and Heinis, C.

High-affinity peptides developed against calprotectin and their application as synthetic ligands in diagnostic assays

Díaz-Perlas, C., Ricken, B., Farrera-Soler, L., Guschin, D., Pojer, F., Lau, K., Gerhold, C.-B. and Heinis, C.

Synthesis and direct assay of large macrocycle diversities by combinatorial late-stage modification at picomole scale

Habeshian, S., Merz, M.L., Sangouard, G., Mothukuri, G.K., Schüttel, M., Bognár; Z., Díaz-Perlas, C., Vesin, J., Bortoli Chapalay, J., Turcatti, G., Cendron, L., Angelini, A. and Heinis, C.

We are grateful for support by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the European Research Council.