Seminar: "Hybrid Self-Assembled Nanomaterials from Proteins, Peptides, and DNA"
The ability to design materials that mimic the complexity and functionality of biological systems is a long standing goal of nanotechnology, with applications in medicine, energy, and fundamental science. Biological molecules such as proteins, peptides, and DNA possess a rich palette of self-assembly motifs and chemical functional diversity, and are attractive building blocks for the synthesis of such nanomaterials. In this talk, we will describe research in creating hybrid materials that incorporate proteins and peptides with DNA nanotechnology to create cages, nanofibers, and 3D crystals with a high degree of programmability and nanoscale resolution. Key to these endeavors will be (bio)molecular design, organic chemistry for linking components in a site-specific fashion, and the tuning of multiple self-assembly "modes" to create hybrid structures. Although the talk will focus on the fundamental chemistry and self-assembly of these systems, we will also discuss potential applications in areas such as targeted cargo delivery, biomaterials for regenerative medicine, and synthesis of virus- and antibody-mimetic nanostructures.
About the speaker: Nicholas Stephanopoulos was born in Athens, Greece, but grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts. He obtained his A.B. in chemistry from Harvard University, followed by a one-year stint to earn a Master’s in chemical engineering at MIT. He then pursued doctoral studies at the University of California, Berkeley, working with Prof. Matthew Francis. His research focused on using site-specific bioconjugation chemistry to modify viral capsid nano-scaffolds, in order to create materials for energy, biomedicine, and nanotechnology. After earning his PhD in 2010, he went to Northwestern University for postdoctoral studies, supported by both NIH Ruth Kirschtein and International Institute for Nanotechnology fellowships, working with Prof. Samuel Stupp on self-assembling peptide nanomaterials and their applications to regenerative medicine.
At both Berkeley and Northwestern, Prof. Stephanopoulos became interested in integrating proteins and peptides with DNA nanotechnology. In 2015, he began his independent career at Arizona State University, with a goal to merge these molecules into a new class of hybrid nanomaterials, with applications across a range of fields. He is currently an assistant professor in the School of Molecular Sciences and the Biodesign Institute’s Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics, with affiliate appointments in Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering. Since coming to ASU, Prof. Stephanopoulos has received a number of accolades, including the 2016 Air Force (AFOSR) Young Investigator Award, the 2018 NSF CAREER, and the 2018 NIH Director's New Innovator Award.