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Supramolecular Assembly of Peptidic Biomaterials: From Molecular Design and Understanding to Therapeutics Development

Thursday, March 30, 2017, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
NH 604

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He Dong, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Chemistry and Biomolecular Science
Clarkson University

Peptide-based supramolecular assemblies represent an important class of soft nanomaterials with hierarchical structural control down to the molecular level. The well-defined molecular structure plays important roles in regulating supramolecular structure, property and various biological activities. In this seminar, I will discuss two self-assembling systems based on de novo designed peptides and their therapeutic applications. The first system is inspired by amyloid nanofibers. By manipulating the attractive and repulsive force through primary sequence variation, nanofibers were formed with desirable features of controlled assembly, nanostructured dimensions, atomically precise localization of chemical functionality ideal for anisotropic nanocarrier design. In a second example, I will discuss a new design of artificial proteins through self-assembly of a two-component chimeric peptide. The synthetic peptide self-assembled into discrete tetrahedron-like protein nanoparticles driven by a combination of symmetry controlled molecular packing and geometric constraint. These preliminary findings are expected to help establish a fundamental understanding of how molecular design impacts folding and assembly of multi-component peptides. It will also help develop more sophisticated peptide-based molecular toolkits for the construction of discrete protein-like nanoparticles with well-defined molecular pattern, increased complexity and diverse functionality.

He Dong obtained a PhD degree in organic chemistry at Rice University in 2008. She took a postdoctoral position in the Department of Surgery at Emory University and the Materials Science and Engineering He DongDepartment at the University of California, Berkeley. Dong joined the Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Science at Clarkson University as an assistant professor in August 2012. Her research spans from chemistry, materials science to biomedical sciences with a strong focus on biomaterials design and fabrication through supramolecular assembly of peptides/proteins and block-copolymers. The therapeutic potential of these peptide nanomaterials are tremendous and currently under aggressive exploration for drug delivery, gene/siRNA delivery, vaccine delivery and antimicrobial therapy development. Dong has been actively involved in various education and outreach activities by mentoring local high school students and providing opportunities for summer internship to local high school teachers. She recently received a NSF Faculty Early Career Award and is currently a member of the American Chemical Society, American Physical Society, Materials Research Society and Biomedical Science Society.

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