The scope of the highly interdisciplinary project includes synthesis and characterization of novel bioinspired hybrid materials that respond to the environment and self-assemble hierarchically. The approach involves use of organic templates coupled with mineralization proteins to direct biomineralization processes, to facilitate a bottom-up approach to nanocomposite materials design.
The project involves design and synthesis of novel synthetic block copolymers as well as protein polymers produced by recombinant DNA techniques. These exhibit hierarchical self-assembly and serve as templates for biomineralization. Mineralization proteins and peptides attached to the organic templates, are used to control the growth and placement of uniform magnetic and non-magnetic nanocrystals. The project involves synthesis and characterization of these bioinspired materials.
Program mentor: Surya Mallapragada, professor and chair, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Iowa State University