Interface Between Biophysics & Materials Science
There are many interesting problems at the interface between biophysics and materials science, which require developing models that properly treat both solids and soft materials (e.g., peptides and proteins).
We have been involved in two such subjects through collaborations with colleagues in both Chemistry and Geology. The first subject concerns a systematic analysis of properties of non-natural peptides that include beta-amino acids, ranging from the structure of individual peptides to the collective self-assembly behaviors and interactions with lipid membranes. The second subject has to do with the fascinating process of biomineralization, and the specific problem we study concerns the interaction of peptides with hydroxyapatite in the context of bone growth regulation. More recently, as part of the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology, we have been studying a number of problems concerning the solid/liquid interface and nano/bio interactions.