Design, Synthesis and Applications of Biologically Inspired Nanomaterials

Lipids assemble to form various phases with distinct structural and dynamic properties. This polymorphism plays important roles in areas as diverse as materials chemistry, membrane biology and biophysics. We have developed a novel concept for the solubilization, stabilization, and crystallization of membrane proteins within highly viscous, structured and optically transparent lipidic cubic phases (LCPs). This concept has contributed greatly to membrane biology, yielding structures of various membrane proteins, and culminating in the recent high-resolution structures of several G-protein-coupled receptors. Using a combination of molecular design, synthetic methodology, biophysical and colloidal chemistry, we are extending this concept to address fundamental and applied issues in lipid science. Specific topics in our current research are:

  • Design and synthesis of lipids as building blocks of functional biomaterials
  • Development of drug delivery and biosensor systems
  • Development of lipidic matrices for functional and structural investigation of membrane proteins
  • Prebiotic chemistry
  • Fabrication of nanomaterials for biofuel cells