Kevin Van Cott Ph.D.

Van Cott, Kevin
Position Department / Business Unit
Associate Professor Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Institution Disciplines
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Engineering
City State / Provence
Lincoln Nebraska
Country Website
U.S.A. link

Dr. Van Cott is an Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He completed his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University in 1991. He went on to receive his Ph.D in Chemical Engineering from Virginia Tech University in 1996.

The majority of my current research interests may be described using the recently coined phrase "Functional Proteomics," but with a twist. In my case, I am not looking at thousands of different proteins that cells are producing. Instead, I am looking at recombinant proteins that are produced in bioreactors. These proteins are very complex because they have numerous post-translational modifications (PTMs); i.e., chemical modifications made to the amino acid side chains, such as glycosylation, gamma-carboxylation, phosphorylation, sulfation, and proteolytic processing. Thus, in my lab a "pure" protein can have many different subpopulations that differ in the nature and/or extent of their modification.

The objective of my research is to characterize the structure of these subpopulations and then relate the structure to the in vivo function and pharmacokinetic properties. This work requires expertise in protein purification and analytical biochemistry, which is carried out in my Protein Characterization Laboratory (PCL), part of the Biological Process Development Facility at UNL.

Other research interests of mine include the design and production of "unnatural proteins" - these are synthetic, large polypeptides that we are producing for material science research applications. One objective of this work is to create unnatural proteins that form robust monolayers that have a brush-like conformation on metal oxide surfaces (e.g., such as those used in implants or biomedical devices). I am also continuing collaborative research efforts with colleagues at Virginia Tech University in the area of non-linear optical (NLO) materials, which are used in telecommunications devices. My specific interest in this project is to use dye molecules that have been used in the past for protein purification as a way to make new non-linear optical materials. It turns out that the performance and stability of these dye molecules are surprisingly good, and we are now focused on refining molecular structures and self-assembly techniques so that these new NLO materials can meet or surpass current NLO materials.


Ph.D., Virginia Tech, 1996; B.S., Purdue University, 1991

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