Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
D. Allan Drummond’s research seeks to elucidate the causes and costs of intracellular protein misfolding, a dominant feature of many human neurodegenerative disorders and a central physical challenge that all living cells face. Prior to joining the University of Chicago, he established an independent research group as a Bauer Fellow in the FAS Center for Systems Biology at Harvard University. There he published theoretical studies on protein synthesis errors and developed an experimental system that allowed for the isolation of the fitness cost of protein misfolding. In addition, using quantitative mass spectrometry, his group quantified and defined the global proteomic response to misfolding in the cytosol.
As a graduate student, he developed key theories in protein engineering, focusing on the effect of mutation-induced protein misfolding on optimal design of protein libraries for directed evolution. With regard to evolutionary biology, he introduced the hypothesis, now widely accepted, that proteins evolve at different rates primarily because they experience selection against costs of protein misfolding that increases with protein expression level. His thesis work won the Caltech doctoral thesis prize for all fields in 2006.
Drummond has been named a Pew Scholar and a Sloan Research Fellow. He received his PhD in computation and neural systems from the California Institute of Technology in 2006 and his BSE from Princeton University in mechanical and aerospace engineering in 1995.
Drummond joined the University of Chicago faculty in 2012.