Engineered Biointerfaces Event as iCalendar


25 July 2017

4 - 5pm

Venue: Ground Floor Seminar Room (G10)

Location: 70 Symonds Street, Auckland Central

Jenny Malmstrom

An ABI seminar by Dr Jenny Malmstrom, Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Auckland

Structured or organised surfaces with nanoscale features are important in a range of fields ranging from energy and computing to controlling cellular adhesion.  The work presented here is aimed at creating carefully engineered surfaces to control biological systems. One part of the talk will focus on surfaces aimed for controlling the adhesion and differentiation of mammalian cells and the other part will cover our work on ordering of protein rings for future functional devices.

The prospect of precisely controlled cellular behaviour using designed smart surfaces has applications in particular within tissue engineering and stem cell therapy. We have explored protein nanopatterns as well as switchable conductive polymer surfaces as biointerfaces. We have synthesized a range of novel conductive polymer monomers bearing sites for grafting of polymer brushes by controlled radical polymerization. The surface properties are tailored by the grafted brushes (type, composition, length and grafting density).  In one particular study, the composition of salt-sensitive poly(oligo(ethylene glycol methyl ether methacrylate))-based brushes was tailored to control the level of cell adhesion to the interface, mediated via proteins present at the interface.

Proteins exist with an enormous structural and chemical versatility and lend themselves well to be functionalized with different moieties. The second part of this talk will describe how we are harnessing this potential to create functional arrays of self-assembling protein doughnuts. These proteins have pores that can be used to encapsulate metal complexes or nanoparticles, which can then assemble further into tunnels to create magnetic, electrical or optical nanorods.  We have explored ways of functionalising and arranging these doughnut tunnels, for example through templating using a self-assembling block copolymer.