In this paper, published in Nature Nanotechnology, we demonstrate methodology to autonomously identify supramolecular polymers based on peptides. By allowing peptides to continuously reorganize their sequences, they will eventually form those polymers that are most suited to the environment at the expense of less favored structures. This methodology- dynamic peptide libraries, or DPL- is inspired by the principles of evolution, and allowed us to identify a range of heretofore unseen peptide-based materials with potential applications in drug delivery and cosmetics.
In collaboration with the Tuttle group and recently published in Soft Matter, Ivan has combined computational and experimental methodologies to gain understanding on hierarchical self-assembly of Fmoc-dipeptides showing the lateral aggregation of fibers to form twisted ribbons and elucidating the interactions involved on this process. This study shows how MD simulations combined with spectroscopic and microscopy results enable development of atomistic models which then can be used to gain understanding of Fmoc-dipeptides nano structures.
In this recent paper in new Cell Press journal Chem, which was the result of close collaboration with Matt Dalby, University of Glasgow, we describe the development of gels with tunable properties that mimic the nanofibrous structure and mechanical properties of biological tissue. These gels can be used to monitor stem cell differentiation and allow for the identification of molecules involved in differentiation.
In Jugal's latest paper latest paper published in ACS Nano, in collaboration with Prof. Matthew J. Dalby's research group in University of Glasgow, we have used emerging rules of managing cell adhesion to prolong mesenchymal stem cell cultures by fabricating controllable nanoscale cell interfaces using immobilised peptides on a 2D surface, that may be enzymatically triggered to change their function. The surfaces can be altered at will to tip adhesion/cytoskeletal balance and initiate differentiation, hence better informing biological mechanisms of stem cell growth. This development of technology that is able to dynamically navigate small differences in cell adhesion is critical in the race to provide regenerative strategies using stem cells.
Daniela's latest paper in Biomaterials, in collaboration with the Beatson Cancer Research Institute (UK) shows peptide nanoparticles that change their shape when exposed to endogenous enzymes which are overexpressed in cancer. The morphology transition from spherical nano carrier to immobile nano fibers at the tumor site allows for localized delivery of anticancer drugs, which halts tumor growth. Thus, a pathological hallmark of metastasis (enzyme overexpression) can be exploited to guide therapeutic targeting, tuning a negative prognostic indicator into a therapeutic response.
Front cover image of our recently discovered tripeptide emulsifiers. In this paper, we describe a new way to create emulsions with tunable properties, based on very simple biological molecules, as published in the journal Advanced Materials. In collaboration with Tell Tuttle's lab, we used a combination of experiments and simulations to show that dramatically variable oil-in-water emulsions may be produced from tripeptides.