Areas of Research: Systems Biology, protein language models, evolution, plants, proteomics
Dr. McWhite is interested in the acquisition of novel protein function across evolution. We model protein sequences as a language, viewing amino acids as words and whole proteins as sentences. As in human language where words have meaning based on context, amino acids have function based on the context of their surrounding amino acids. These models are a powerful tool to interpret both mutation effects and protein functional divergence. We are broadly focused on developing frameworks to interpret biological properties through the lens of protein language.