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*Sarah L. Perry*
Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Massachusetts Amherst
The diversity and complexity of both structure and function in biological
macromolecules is driven by precisely balanced interactions. Charge-driven
interactions are particularly key in biological systems, but a detailed
understanding of their role in the assembly of materials is still lacking.
Polyelectrolyte complexation provides an ideal platform to study the self-
assembly of a wide range of soft materials ranging from dehydrated thin film and
bulk solids to dense, polymer-rich liquid complex coacervates, and more complex
hierarchical structures such as micelles and hydrogels. Factors that affect the
self-assembly of these materials include the ratio of polycation to polyanion,
temperature, pH, salt concentration, stereochemistry, polymer architecture, and
the density and/or patterning of charges present. Among these factors, the
ability to pattern charges and other chemical functionalities represents a
powerful strategy for the design and manipulation of material properties.
Until recently, the effect of specific chemical sequences has been rarely
studied, due to the difficulty of synthesizing polyelectrolytes with equal chain
length and charge density, but different distributions of charge or other
functionalities. However, polypeptides and polypeptide derivatives represent a
model platform for the synthesis and study of polyelectrolytes with precisely
controlled polymer architecture and sequence patterning at the molecular level.
Furthermore, polypeptides have direct relevance as biological materials and can
be used in a variety of biological, medical, and industrial applications.
We utilize experimental, theoretical, and simulations-based approaches to
examine the effect of charge density, charge patterning, amino acid chirality
and polymer architecture on the stability and overall material properties of
polyelectrolyte complexes formed from positively- and negatively-charged
polypeptides with matched and mismatched sequences of charged residues. The goal
of this systematic investigation is to elucidate design rules that facilitate
the tailored creation of materials based on polyelectrolyte complexation with
defined properties for a wide range of applications.
*Wednesday, Aug. 17th, 2016*
*5:30 p.m. ? 6:30 p.m.*
*Pizzas start at 5:20 p.m*
J?rg Werner, PhD
Postdoctoral Associate, Weitz Group
John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS)
Harvard University, Cambridge MA