Department Seminar

Molecular Biomimetics: Genetically Engineered Peptide-Enabled Materials & Systems for Technology & Medicine

Speaker Details:

Prof. Mehmet Sarikaya
Materials Science and Engineering, University of Washington

Lecture Details:

January 16, 2014
12:30 – 1:30pm
Foege N130A, Wallace H. Coulter Seminar Room


Genetically Engineered Peptides for Inorganic solids (GEPI) are of a broad interest due to their capability for the functionalization of solids and their use as molecular linkers, erector sets and assemblers as well as enzymes to synthesize nanosolids in molecular-technologies and –medicine. Further refining combinatorial mutagenesis approaches, e.g., cell surface and phage display libraries, that we have originally adapted from the principles of drug design, our laboratory has been experimentally selecting 100s of solid-binding peptides for a variety of metals (Au, Pt, Au, Ti), oxides (ZnO, alumina, Zirconia) semiconductors (GaN, MoS2, WSe2), and minerals(Hap, Quartz, Calcite, diamond, and graphite). To accelerate the directed evolution process, we have also established bioinformatics methods de novo designed multifunctional peptides in chimeric constructs. Despite their short sequences (7-14 AAa) and, hence, intrinsically disordered structures in water, the versatility of these peptides stem from their predictable folding conformations that is specific to a given solid surface with known physico-chemical characteristics. More recently, we have developed rational approaches to address, exclusively, the peptide-solid and peptide-peptide molecular interactions (while bound to a surface) of a given GEPI via point and domain mutations. Based on the understanding of the fundamental surface phenomena, e.g., diffusion, self-assembly, and surface organization, the novel approach developed allows us to construct peptide-enabled hybrid nanostructures with addressable chemical or physical functions. We will discuss latest developments in designing solid-binding peptides with specific surface recognition and assembly characteristics augmented by computational modeling (MD, MM, QM, kMC, etc) and, finally, present examples in nanotechnology and nanomedicine implementations, e.g., in quantum dot assembly on LED displays, graphene FET cancer biosensors, biofunctionalization of implants, and cell-free tissue reconstruction. The projects have been funded by US-ARO, NSF-DMR BioMat & MRSEC, and NIH-NIDCR & NCI.

Speaker Bio:

Mehmet Sarikaya is currently a professor in the department of Materials Science and Engineering, and adjunct in Chemical Engineering and Oral Health Sciences, at the University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA. During 2005-13 he has also been the Director of GEMSEC, Genetically Engineered Materials Science and Engineering Center, an NSF Supported MRSEC at the UW. Previously he was the Director of DURINT, a Defense-University Research Initiative on Nanotechnology (2001-2007), supported by US-ARO, Army Research Office. He received his PhD (design and structures of medium carbon steels) at the University of California, Berkeley, CA, in 1982 and, for 2 years, he was a post-doctoral researcher (advanced ceramics and analytical EM techniques) at Lawrence Berkeley (National) Laboratory and Instructor, in the MSE Department at UCB. He joined the UW in 1984 as an Assistant Professor, receiving his full professorship in 2002. He was a visiting professor at Princeton University (1993), Nagoya University (1997 and 2005), Istanbul Technical University (2001-2010), Bilkent University (2012) and Tokyo Institute of Technology (2013).

Trained as a traditional materials scientist over the course of his career and focusing on processing-structure-function relationships in a variety of materials including high temperature semiconductors and superconductors, in addition to metallic alloys and structural ceramics, Sarikaya recognized early on (mid 80s) the power of biomimetics, i.e., biological materials science and engineering, and discovered that fundamentally, biology follows the same MSE principles in developing materials, minus the “heat” using primarily proteins which are the workhorses of life’s functions. Adapting genetic engineering and molecular biology principles to MSE, he was instrumental, for the last 25+ years, in the development of solid binding peptides that initiated the fledging new polydisciplinary field, Molecular Biomimetics. His laboratory and those of his associates’ demonstrated the utility of GEPIs (Genetically Engineered Peptides for Inorganic Materials) as molecular linkers, erectors sets, and self-assemblers as well as tiny enzymes for the synthesis of nanomaterials, major efficacy in practical nanotechnology and medicine, from biomaterialization to nanosensors and dental therapies. Sarikaya is a co-editor in 7 books and proceedings, in the editorial boards of many journals, and has contributed to the interdisciplinary literature with 250+ archival papers and 300+ invited and keynote presentations.