We are interested in making unique combinations of biological molecules and polymers to develop materials that combine the exquisite specificity and functionality of biological molecules with the physical toughness and engineering ability of polymers. We have chosen block copolymers as mimics for lipid molecules and membrane proteins as the functional protein elements.
The short term goal of our group is to understand protein polymer interactions and develop devices and membranes inspired by cell membranes. The longer term goal is to emulate these native biological structures with robust polymeric or engineered protein structural elements.
We are also interested in improving current synthetic membranes used in the process, water, energy, and biotech industries. We are utilizing innovative methods to study structure of and transport across these membranes and developing new methods to control fouling and improve efficiency.
September 2016: Our collaborative paper with the Zimmer, Nixon and Bulone groups showing that a single isoform of plant (poplar) cellulose synthase is sufficient for cellulose microfibril formation was published in PNAS! Read it here.
September 2016: Patrick's paper on PSI in block copolymers and on block copolymer conductive interfaces linked to electrodes is published in Journal of Materials Chemistry A (after a long journey). Read it here.
July 2016: Several members of our lab visited the exciting Gordon Research Conference on Membranes: Materials and Processes.