MULTIFUNCTIONAL DYNAMIC BIOMATERIALS
The need for smart materials for medical implants is pushing the boundaries of biomaterials designs towards multifunctional, dynamic materials.
Genetic and protein engineering provides an avenue to increase structural and functional complexity of biopolymers, and thus expand repertoire of available biomaterials beyond those which exist in nature. In our lab biomaterials are designed to respond to a range of stimuli including changes in relative humidity, electric potential, or enzymatic activity. These materials have potential applications in tissue and organ repair, drug delivery, diagnostic platforms, and related needs.
PLASMONIC NANOCOMPOSITES FOR CATALYSIS AND SENSING
We are developing a biopolymer-directed strategy toward the fabrication of plasmonic nanoparticles and nanocomposites for applications in catalysis and sensing.
Engineered proteins and variety of biophysical techniques are employed to understand how biopolymers interact with inorganic materials to promote nanomaterial and nanocomposite self-assembly. We then use that knowledge to design, synthesize, and fabricate multifunctional nanocomposites for water and soil remediation, heavy metal sensing, and related applications.
PATHOGEN SENSING: LEARNING FROM INNATE IMMUNITY
Our goal is to design high affinity capture agents that will enable sensing of whole-cell pathogens.
Sensitivity and specificity of biosensors are decidedly dependent upon high-affinity, probe-specific molecular recognition. We are using rational and combinatorial protein design to engineer modular repeat-protein scaffolds that can bind motifs associated with pathogen cell-wall. Assays and sensors based on direct recognition of whole-cell pathogens will find application in not only in medical research and diagnostics, but also in food industry, environmental sciences, forensic science and national security.