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Alice Ting, Ph.D.

Department of Chemistry
Associate Professor

Room 18-496
(617) 452-2021 (phone)


Alice Yen-Ping Ting is a professor of bio-organic chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Alice Ting was born in Taiwan and emigrated to the United States when she was three years old. She was raised in Texas and attended the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science (TAMS). She received her BS in Chemistry from Harvard in 1996, working with E.J. Corey. She completed her Ph.D. with Peter G. Schultz from University of California, Berkeley in 2000. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship with 2008 Nobel Laureate Roger Y. Tsien.

She joined the MIT Chemistry Department in 2002 where she is now an Associate Professor. Her research harnesses the power of natural enzymes to help image protein function in living cells. She has received a number of awards, including a 2008 NIH Director's Pioneer Award and a 2010 Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society.

Research Summary

Our lab develops new methodology for studying protein, RNA, and small-molecule function in the live cell context. Whereas traditional biochemistry studies biomolecules in purified form in vitro, we seek to understand them in their native context, namely the complex environment of the cell surface and cell interior. To achieve this, our lab develops non-invasive methodologies and “reporters” for reading out information about specific biomolecules and biochemical events from single living cells. Our methods draw from the tools and techniques of many different disciplines, including synthetic chemistry, biophysics, microscopy, biochemistry, and cell biology.

Selected Publications

  • P. Zou and A. Y. Ting.  Imaging LDL receptor oligomerization during endocytosis using a co-internalization assay. ACS Chemical Biology, in press (2011).
  • X. Jin, C. Uttamapinant, and A. Y. Ting. Synthesis of 7-aminocoumarin via Buchwald-Hartwig cross coupling for specific protein labeling in living cells. ChemBioChem, 12, 65-70 (2011).
  • A. Thyagarajan and A. Y. Ting. Imaging activity-dependent regulation of neurexin-neuroligin interactions using trans-synaptic enzymatic biotinylation. Cell, 143, 456-469 (2010).
  • C. Uttamapinant, K. A. White, H. Baruah, S. Thompson, M. Fernández-Suárez, S. Puthenveetil, and A. Y. Ting. A fluorophore ligase for site-specific protein labeling inside living cells.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107, 10914-10919 (2010).
  • S. Puthenveetil, D. S. Liu, K. A. White, S. Thompson, and A. Y. Ting. Yeast display evolution of a kinetically efficient 13-amino acid substrate for lipoic acid ligase. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 131, 16430-16438 (2009).
  • H. Baruah, S. Puthenveetil, Y.-A. Choi, S. Shah, and A. Y. Ting. An engineered aryl azide ligase for site-specific mapping of protein-protein interactions through photocrosslinking.Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 47, 7018-7021 (2008).
  • M. Fernández-Suárez, T. S. Chen, and A. Y. Ting. Protein-protein interaction detection in vitro and in cells by proximity biotinylation. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 130, 9251-9253 (2008).
  • M. Howarth, W. Liu, S. Puthenveetil, Y. Zheng, L. F. Marshall, M. M. Schmidt, K. D. Wittrup, M. G. Bawendi, and A. Y. Ting. Monovalent, reduced-size quantum dots for imaging receptors on living cells. Nature Methods, 5, 397-399 (2008).
  • M. Fernández-Suárez, H. Baruah, L. Martinez-Hernandez, K. T. Xie, J. M. Baskin, C. R. Bertozzi, and A. Y. Ting. Redirecting lipoic acid ligase for cell surface protein labeling with small-molecule probes. Nature Biotechnology, 25, 1483-1487 (2007).
  • I. Chen, Y.-A. Choi, and A. Y. Ting. Phage display evolution of a peptide substrate for yeast biotin ligase and application to two-color quantum dot labeling of cell surface proteins. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 129, 6619-6625 (2007).
  • M. Howarth, D. J.-F. Chinnapen, K. Gerrow, P. C. Dorrestein, M. R. Grandy, N. L. Kelleher, A. El-Husseini, A. Y. Ting. A monovalent streptavidin with a single femtomolar biotin binding site. Nature Methods, 3, 267-273 (2006).
  • M. Howarth, K. Takao, Y. Hayashi, A. Y. Ting. Targeting quantum dots to surface proteins in living cells with biotin ligase. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 102, 7583-7588 (2005).
  • I. Chen, M. Howarth, W. Lin, A. Y. Ting. Site-specific labeling of cell surface proteins with biophysical probes using biotin ligase.
    Nature Methods, 2, 99-104 (2005).

Last Updated: January 19, 2011