(7v) Production of Artificial Cell Membranes Bearing New Characteristics or Behaviors Using “Click” Chemistries

Authors: 
Konetski, D., University of Colorado
Bowman, C. N., University of Colorado
Zhang, D., University of Colorado
Baranek, A., University of Colorado
Gong, T., University of Colorado
Worrell, B., University of Colorado
Towards the development of an artificial cell, it is preferable to generate liposomes containing synthetic lipids capable of imparting valuable new characteristics and behaviors to the membrane system. Here, we present a more facile method for the incorporation of distinct moieties onto the phospholipid structure using “click” chemistries. To demonstrate one utility of this system, phospholipids bearing a photocleavable moiety have been synthesized. When these lipids are incorporated into a liposome and irradiated, non-spherical vesicles undergo pinocytosis, enabling uptake of resources from the external environment. This has the potential to greatly expand the functional lifetime of artificial cells leading to greater product generation and getting closer to a “living” cell.

Research Interests:

Building upon my current work on artificial cellular systems, I will be pursuing future research into the dynamics that proteins play in synthetic membrane systems. This work will deal with the dynamics of proteins at a synthetic membrane surface and/or the expression systems that reside inside to produce proteins of interest. Together, this work will allow me to delve deeper into the realm of building an artificial cell, as it pertains both to the understanding of the development of current cellular systems as well as more efficient methods to express proteins for the study of genetic diseases or for the production of protein-based drugs.

Teaching Interests:

My interests lie at the intersection of biology, chemical engineering and materials science. Research at this interface has important implications in a range of fields from medical advancements to valuable, new material design. To foster the continuation of this interplay between fields I believe in the inspiration of young chemical engineering students to pique their interest in biology and the vast knowledge we can borrow from it. For this reason I would like to teach courses such as biology or biochemistry for engineers as well as biomaterials courses. In addition to teaching in the classical classroom setting, I am dedicated to individual mentoring as is evidenced by my work in lab as well as my work as a graduate mentor for the undergraduate Discovery Learning Apprenticeship end of year project presentations and symposium.