This powerful biomimetic method is a fast, flexible way to produce a wide range of inorganic nanostructures from a single protein scaffold.
Bioenabled inorganic synthesis is common in nature, in materials such as bone, diatoms, and abalone shells. The synthesis of the inorganic phase of these materials occurs at or near room temperature and atmospheric pressure and in aqueous conditions, and is achieved through the concerted actions of multiple proteins. Yet such hierarchically ordered, three-dimensional structures that can be so faithfully replicated in nature are difficult to duplicate with our current knowledge of nanomaterials synthesis. Thus, there is a growing interest in using proteins to direct the nucleation and growth of inorganic materials.
Heilshorn's interests include biomaterials in regenerative medicine, engineered proteins with novel assembly properties, microfluidics and photolithography of proteins, and synthesis of materials to influence stem cell differentiation. Current projects include tissue engineering for spinal cord and blood vessel regeneration, designing injectable materials for use in stem cell therapies, and the design of microfluidic devices to study the directed migration of cells (i.e., chemotaxis).Read more
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