Biological Materials

 

Advancing the Influence of Chemistry on biology

Let your imagination dictate your research projects!!

Our mission is to apply basic principles of chemistry to solve important problems in biology. There are four primary foci for our research.


DNA-based Light Harvesting Complexes

We found a simple way to build solar antennas with proteins and organic dyes. We are making artificial complexes of proteins and DNA by chemically modifying proteins with small organic molecules.  These protein/DNA complexes are showing amazing ability for solar light harvesting.


Biophilic Graphene Oxide 

We developed a simple method to prepare high quality graphene at very low cost. We use serum albumin to exfoliate graphite to high quality graphene in an ordinary kitchen blender.  The graphene coated printing paper conducts electrical current with conductivities exceeding 32,000 S/cm. This implies that we can construct paper-based electronic devices, in the future. 


BionanoMaterials

We are building highly stable biocatalysts that resist denaturation even at the bioling point of water. Our hypothesis is that enzymes can be stabilized by placing them reduced dimensional space.  That is, enzymes in one dimensional space will be more stable than in two dimensional space, and they will be more stable in two dimensional space than in three dimensional space.

    To test this hypothesis, we encapsulate enzymes in the two dimensional space of inorganic layered materials and testing their stability.  Our encapsulated enzymes catalyze reactions near the boiling point of water. This is very unusual, but exciting.


Single Protein-Polymer Nanoparticles

We are stabilizing enzymes with synthetic polymers by wrapping the enzyme molecules, individually, with poly(acrylic acid). The polymer-wrapped enzymes are highly stable against denaturation.  In collaboration with the Kasi group, we are designing polymers to wrap individual enzyme molecules.  These conjugates enhance the stability of the enzymes well beyond boiling point of water, at normal pressure.  These are providing exciting new applications in biocatalysis, biosensing and biofuel cells.


Our Motto: Teaching is an Investment in ‘OUR Future’