(6du) Fundamental Studies of Nanoscale Bio-Interactions

Authors: 
Sorci, M., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Nanoscale bio-recognition is an essential requirement in many biological processes (e.g. enzyme-subtract interaction, immune response, and signaling pathways).  Although our knowledge of the molecular and structural basis of these interactions is limited, scientists have found a way to apply these interactions to several applications like affinity chromatography, bio-sensors, and drug delivery.  My Ph.D. work focused on affinity membranes for bio-separations. It centered around the development (selection of ligands, modification of membranes) and testing (batch and dynamic adsorption experiments, modeling, estimation of binding capacity, dissociation and kinetic constants, effect of ionic strength and flux) of affinity membranes for the purification of different classes of biomolecules: monoclonal antibodies, lectins and MBP-fusion proteins.  More recently, during my post-doctoral studies, I have continued to work on several projects with the common focus of protein-protein interactions, from separation to aggregation.  The poster will give an overview of the research conducted in the following topics:  (i) specificity of nuclear transport using QCM-D; (ii) insights into the lytic mechanism of antimicrobial peptide using supported lipid bilayer to mimic bacterial membranes; (iii) the use of AFM in force mode to measure the binding forces between different split-protein partners; (iv) biophysical characterization of amyloid aggregates, from dimers to fibrils; (v) charged membranes for  the separation of proteins with similar molecular weight and charge.  I have broadened my background as a chemical engineer, integrating it with a variety of bio-tools.  I plan to continue my career maintaining this interdisciplinary approach in studying protein-protein recognition both as basic science (e.g. better understanding of biological mechanisms) and applied science (e.g. developing bio-sensors).