Former Kellogg Institute PhD Fellow Faruck MorcosCongratulations to former Kellogg PhD Fellow Faruck Morcos '10 (computational biology), who has received tenure at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), where he is associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and a member of Center for Systems Biology.

Morcos has been leading a team in creating a game app called MoleculeGo, aimed at getting people excited about exploring the molecular world. In the game, each player is a scientist who goes out into the real world to discover molecules to take back to the app’s laboratory to explore them and put them together with other molecules.

On another front, Morcos is part of team of researchers from UTD and University of North Texas who have discovered a way to more readily and accurately design new proteins to reprogram living cells, with implications for improving the health of living organisms and possible applications for industrial, agricultural, and environmental use. The team created a coevolutionary modeling approach that engineers mutations in combined proteins to ensure their compatibility and eliminate costly, time-consuming trial and error.

“We are taking two pieces of a protein that we know are incompatible and are using evolutionary information to engineer these pieces to work together,” Morcos said. “What is innovative is the ability to rationally and effectively modify the compatibility of proteins, and it opens the door to new applications that were not possible before.”