ChBE Seminar Series: James Culver
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Room 2110, Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Bldg.
Professor Chunsheng Wang
An Infectious Approach to Biofabrication
Presented by James Culver
Center for Biosystems Research
University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute (UMBI)
Advances in nanotechnology offer significant improvements in a range of applications including, light weight materials with greater strength, increased energy efficiency from electronic devices, and better sensors for a range of medical and environmental uses. Furthermore, since size constraints often produce qualitative changes in the characteristics of matter, it is anticipated that the exploitation of nanotechnology will result in the identification of new phenomena and functionalities derived from the physics, chemistry, and biology of matter at the nanoscale level. However, these advances require the development of systems for the design, modeling, and synthesis of nanoscale materials. Interestingly, many biological molecules function on this scale and possess unique properties that impart the ability to assume defined conformations and assemblies, as well as interact with specific chemical or biological substrates. Studies in our laboratory utilize RNA plant viruses as templates for the self-assembly and patterning of novel nanomaterials. Such viruses represent very simple macromolecular assemblies, consisting of a single molecule of nucleic acid packaged by many copies of an identical coat protein. These properties make them ideal models for understanding fundamental mechanisms that underlie the abilities of molecules to self-associate and assemble into ordered structures. Utilizing molecular genetic and chemical methods we have investigated strategies to functionalize and pattern these viruses with dyes, peptides and metals to produce assembled virus arrays with applications in energy production, sensor development and drug delivery.