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Thrust 2 - Macromolecular Assemblies and Hybrid Devices

The high rate of discovery in nanotechnology is permitting us to realize nanomaterials with interesting new properties that can be used for building hybrid devices in conjunction with biomolecules. Thrust 2 focuses on several of these applications.

The focus of this thrust is on studying and exploiting the material properties of innovative mesoscale assemblies of biomolecules, inorganic matter or even their mixtures to produce enhanced functionality and devices. This thrust, which deals with the intermediate mesoscale level of organization of biological materials synergizes with the biomolecular (Thrust 1) and cellular (Thrust 3) levels of organization and forms a key component of our overall center’s mission of using an interdisciplinary approach approach combining physical, biological and engineering methods to understand and exploit the functioning of multi-scale assemblies of biological matter. Here, we focus on assemblies consisting of active entities and substrates where interactions between the entities mediated by the substrate, the dimensionality of the substrate and the precise spatial positioning of the active entities all have significant roles in influencing the overall material and functional properties. In this thrust we exploit this feature by manipulating these specific variables to achieve a variety of enhanced functionality including:

  • Enhanced cargo transport by tuning vesicle membrane properties: We propose to tune the cooperativity of kinesin motors involved in intracellular cargo transport by embedding them in designer vesicles, made of appropriate lipid mixtures with tunable material properties. This approach allows for the direct manipulation of the dynamics of the motors and their membrane mediated interactions, providing us with a route to designer cargo transport systems with enhanced functionality.

  • Enhanced bio-sensing and lasing based on DNA templated nanoparticle assemblies: Specifically, we will use novel large DNA origami that will encode specific instructions to arrange DNA functionalized nanoparticles into a wide range of complex patterns. Some of the patterns will allow us to study coupling of plasmons and lasing at previously unachievable spatial and temporal scales while others will form nanoparticle assemblies that will make possible extremely sensitive, multiplexed detection of neurotransmitters.

Specific training under this project will include optical trapping, fluorescence microscopy, biochemical purification, designing and implementing self-assembly of DNA origami nanostructures, electrohydrodynamic processing, microfluidics and nanofacbrication, as well as characterization techniques such as SEM, TEM and scanning optical spectroscopy and computer simulation and modeling methodologies including Brownian dynamics and Monte Carlo methods and numerical solutions of differential equations.

 

Thrust 2 Faculty

 

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Ajay Gopinathan
CCBM Co-Director
Professor of Physics
Thrust 2 Lead

Email: agopinathan@ucmerced.edu
Gopinathan Lab Website

 

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Ryan Baxter
Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Email: rbaxter@ucmerced.edu
Baxter Lab Website

 

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Wei-Chun Chin
Associate Professor of Bioengineering
Email: wchin2@ucmerced.edu
Website
 

 

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Sayantani Ghosh
Professor of Physics
Email: sghosh@ucmerced.edu
Ghosh Lab Website

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Linda Hirst
Professor of Physics
Email: lhirst@ucmerced.edu
Hirst Lab Website 

 

 

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Kevin Mitchell
Professor of Physics
Email: kmitchell@ucmerced.edu
Mitchell Lab Website

 

 

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Anand Bala Subramaniam
Assistant Professor of Bioengineering

Email: asubramaniam@ucmerced.edu
Subramaniam Lab Website

 


Daniel Beller
Assistant Professor of Physics
Faculty Affiliate

Email: dbeller@ucmerced.edu
Beller Lab Website

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Jessica Wang
Assistant Professor of Materials Science & Engineering
Email: yuewang@ucmerced.edu
Wang Lab Website
 

 

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Jing Xu
Associate Professor of Physics

Email: jxu8@ucmerced.edu
Xu Lab Website
 

 

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Tao Ye
Associate Professor of Chemistry & Chemical Biology

Email: tye2@ucmerced.edu
Ye Lab Website
 

 


Kinjal Dasbiswas
Assistant Professor of Physics
Faculty Affiliate
Email: kdasbiswas@ucmerced.edu
Dasbiswas Lab Website