Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2017.



First Advisor

Zhang, Zhiwen


Antibodies are extensively used in research for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes because of their unrivaled specificity and biomarker binding strengths.1 Currently, monoclonal antibodies are most commonly used because of their production consistency and purity.1 However, there are significant ethical and economic challenges associated with producing monoclonal antibodies.1 Synthetic antibodies provide a promising alternative to monoclonal antibodies in both clinical and research applications.2

Our proposed synthetic antibody system incorporates 3,4-dihydroxy-l-phenylalanine (L-DOPA), an unnatural amino acid used to increase binding affinity, into a peptide sequence specific for the prostate specific antigen (PSA), a biomarker for prostate cancer. This addition is predicted to give the synthetic antibody binding affinity and PSA specificity comparable to existing monoclonal antibodies while avoiding their drawbacks.3 If successful, our system would replace monoclonal antibodies for PSA detection as well as be a promising model for developing countless other synthetic antibodies.