SYNTHETIC CELL MODEL DEVELOPMENT BY ENGINEERING GLOBULAR PROTEIN VESICLES
This project aims to create minimal synthetic cells with recombinantly engineered fusion proteins that can self-assemble into a vesicle – an essential cell structure. This project seeks to understand how functional recombinant fusion proteins can self-assemble into a vesicle in an aqueous solution, what drives the ordered phase separation of different proteins at membranes, and how we can engineer the functional properties of protein-assembled vesicles toward synthetic cells.
PHASE STUDY OF GLOBULAR PROTEIN-DIBLOCK COPOLYMER BLENDS
We seek to provide a fundamental understanding of the self-assembly of globular fusion proteins with synthetic diblock copolymers that exhibit complex interactions. We study the phase transition/separation behavior of the globular fusion proteins in a macromolecularly crowded solution and at the interface/surface under diverse physical and chemical stimuli, mainly using scattering and microscopy techniques. This study enables us to create a new supramolecular nanostructure with functional globular proteins.
FUNCTIONAL NANOTHIN FILMS FOR CELL FATE CONTROL
We develop functional thin films and coatings to control cell fate on the surfaces. We precisely control the surface structure, chemistry, and mechanical properties of polymeric thin films to achieve target functionality to tailor cellular adhesion, proliferation, and death. Functional thin films have a variety of biomedical applications, such as stem cell co-culture platforms, antibacterial coatings, and drug release patches. Bacterial adhesion on medical implants and devices leads to serious infectious diseases. To address the human health issues from the growing number of drug-resistant bacteria, we have developed a new approach to creating bioinspired, bactericidal surfaces that can physically combat the initial adhesion of bacteria. This study encompasses nanofabrication and characterization methods of polymer surfaces and assessment of antibacterial performance, which applies to different polymeric materials used in various medical implants and devices.