When 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM Oct 06, 2017
Where 1571 G.G. Brown
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Self-Assembly of Functional Hierarchical Nanostructures


Jeff Brinker
Sandia National Laboratories, University of New Mexico, Departments of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, and UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center

Over billions of years, biological systems have evolved to solve difficult engineering problems like water collection and purification, self-cleaning, energy harvesting, molecular separation, and nucleic acid delivery. From a materials science perspective, nature’s solutions often involve disparate materials (hard/soft and/or hydrophilic/hydrophobic) combined in 3D hierarchical architectures and resulting in synergistic, optimized properties and property combinations. Emulating such proven natural designs in robust engineering materials using efficient, manufacturable processing approaches represents a fundamental current grand challenge in materials science and engineering. Over the several decades our research team has combined bottom-up sol-gel processing and molecular self-assembly with top-down atomic layer deposition (ALD) and layer-by-layer (LBL) deposition to create porous and composite thin film and particulate, hierarchical nanostructures with optimized properties and/or complex functionalities. Recent work includes Silica Cell Replication (SCR), wherein mammalian cells direct their exact replication in silica. The silica cell replicas preserve nm- to macro-scale cellular features and dimensions on both the cell surface and interior after drying at room temperature - and largely after calcination to 600 ̊C. The process is self-limiting and self-healing, and remarkably generalizable to any cells of interest—combining SCR with LBL we have created completely synthetic red blood cell mimics that circulate like authentic red blood cells. Memzymes, are ultra-thin (12-nm-thick) membranes composed of self-assembled arrays of hydrophilic, 8-nm diameter, hydrophilic channels wherein, via capillary condensation, we incorporate carbonic anhydrase (CA) enzymes at concentrations far exceeding CA concentrations in solution. This ultra-thin enzymatic membrane reactors separate CO2 from other gases with nearly perfect selectivity and with fluxes necessary for application in CO2 sequestration technologies. Protocells are self-assembled mesoporous silica nanoparticles encapsulated within cell membrane-like supported lipid bilayers. These ‘plug-and-play’, drug and disease agnostic, platform constructs can be loaded with arbitrary combined cargos and targeted to arbitrary cells and tissues. Most recently the protocell has been designed to deliver CRISPR gene editing systems.

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