Linoleic acid is an essential free fatty acid in the human body and its metabolic pathway is central to immune regulation and inflammation – which are also key symptoms in COVID-19. Using cryo-electron microscopy, Christine Toelzer’s research
identified linoleic acid bound to a hydrophobic pocket of the SARS-CoV-2 glycoprotein. Christine shares her thoughts on how these findings will contribute to the fight against COVID-19 and how her lab work has been altered by the pandemic. Christine
also discusses the future of other young scientists coming up in the protein science space.
About the Young Scientist Keynote Award: This recognition honors a young scientist from the international protein science community who has contributed to scientific advancement and innovation in this field. Nominations were solicited from across academic
and industry research groups in the fall of 2020, and the finalists were determined through the votes and input of our 15-person advisory panel.
Christine Toelzer is currently a Research Associate at the University of Bristol. After a M.Sc. in biology and an additional M.Sc. in physics she continued with PhD work in biochemistry at the University of Cologne. Her research has always focused on structure function relationships, starting with structure determination of biotechnologically important proteins by x-ray crystallography, magnetic structure determination of inorganic compounds by neutron diffraction and recently using electron cryo-microscopy to obtain the structure of large protein complexes involved in transcription and diseases. In the last year (2020) she started coronavirus related work to contribute to the global effort aimed at better understanding the virus and uncover its potential weaknesses.