Nanomaterials to Mimic Cells

Aug 23, 2005

Mimicking a real living cell by combining artificial membranes and nanomaterials in one construction is the aim of a new research grant at UC Davis. The Nanoscale Integrated Research Team grant, funded by the National Science Foundation with $1.6 million over four years, will study membranes mounted on aerogels, solid materials riddled with so many tiny pores that they are mostly empty.

All living cells are wrapped in a double-layered membrane of oily lipid molecules. Cell membranes are studded with proteins and other molecules, governing how food and wastes get in and out of a cell, how cells signal to and react to their environment, and how they divide and grow.

Currently, researchers studying artificial membranes mount them on solid substrates such as gold, glass or polymers, but that means that only one side of the membrane is accessible, said Subhash Risbud, professor of chemical engineering and materials science at UC Davis and principal investigator on the project.

Using the porous aerogel as a support, the researchers should be able to access and study both sides of the membrane.

"The hope is to build artificial membrane systems that are as close to a biological membrane as we can get right now," said Marjorie Longo, associate professor of chemical engineering and materials science at UC Davis.

The studies could lead to new insights into how real cell membranes behave, for example in the platelet cells that form blood clots.

Source: UC Davis

Explore further: Researchers make nanostructured carbon using the waste product sawdust

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hacker gets prison for cyberattack stealing $9.4M

1 hour ago

An Estonian man who pleaded guilty to orchestrating a 2008 cyberattack on a credit card processing company that enabled hackers to steal $9.4 million has been sentenced to 11 years in prison by a federal judge in Atlanta.

Remains of French ship being reassembled in Texas

1 hour ago

A frigate carrying French colonists to the New World that sank in a storm off the Texas coast more than 300 years ago is being reassembled into a display that archeologists hope will let people walk over ...

Icelandic volcano sits on massive magma hot spot

1 hour ago

Spectacular eruptions at Bárðarbunga volcano in central Iceland have been spewing lava continuously since Aug. 31. Massive amounts of erupting lava are connected to the destruction of supercontinents and ...

Magic Leap moves beyond older lines of VR

1 hour ago

Two messages from Magic Leap: Most of us know that a world with dragons and unicorns, elves and fairies is just a better world. The other message: Technology can be mindboggingly awesome. When the two ...

NBCUniversal settles with unpaid interns for $6.4M

2 hours ago

NBCUniversal will pay $6.4 million to settle a class action lawsuit brought by unpaid interns who worked on "Saturday Night Live" and other shows who claim they are owed wages, according to court documents.

Recommended for you

Molecular beacons shine light on how cells 'crawl'

15 hours ago

Adherent cells, the kind that form the architecture of all multi-cellular organisms, are mechanically engineered with precise forces that allow them to move around and stick to things. Proteins called integrin ...

Nanoparticle technology triples the production of biogas

Oct 22, 2014

Researchers of the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2), a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence, and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) have developed the new BiogàsPlus, a technology which allows ...

User comments : 0