Student: Anna Edmundson

Project: Non-Specific Degradation of Peptides is Dependent on End Group Chemistry and Membrane-Type Protease Cleavage of Peptides is Determined by Interior Chemistry

Poster: Vertical (PDF) | Horizontal (PDF)

Institution: Lehigh University

Major: Bioengineering

Advisor: Tommy Pashuck


Synthetic peptides are ubiquitously used as biomaterials to control a range of biological functions such as cell adhesion and receptor signaling. In most biomaterial systems it is assumed that these bioactive peptides are present for the lifetime of the biomaterial, however this is almost never validated experimentally. In cell systems, peptides are susceptible to degradation from cell-secreted peptidases which can cause problems in their applications. Peptidases are a class of proteases which are expressed in all tissues that cleave off the amino acids either at the termini or cleave the interior of the peptide. Cells can express many peptidases, and the ability of individual enzymes to cleave peptides depends on end group and interior chemistry. Using a control RGD peptide, we have found that N-terminal NH2 end groups are highly susceptible to degradation while N and C-terminal β-alanine end groups are highly resistant to degradation. In another study using a KLVAD peptide, we have found certain amino acid sequences that are specific to membrane bound proteases for M2A macrophages. A better understanding of how peptide design influences degradation is needed to improve the stability of bioactive signals in biomaterials.

Anna Edmundson

About Anna Edmundson

Anna Edmundson, junior at Lehigh University majoring in bioengineering on the biomechanics and biomaterials track from Pittsburgh, PA. Under the guidance of Professor Thomas E. Pashuck, I do research in the field of biomaterials to elicit cell responses from synthesized peptides. I have done previous work in Dr. Ware’s lab studying bacteriophages for therapeutic purposes. Outside of the lab, I am the Public Relations of the Lehigh Scientific Journal Club and I am involved in an engineering and technical sciences sorority, Alpha Omega Epsilon. In my downtime, I enjoy painting, sketching, gardening, and yoga.