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: How we can substitute critical raw materials in catalysis, electronics and photonics

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Novel electrode boosts green hydrogen research

Feb 20, 2015

Scientists from the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) have developed a novel reference electrode, and are working with hydrogen energy system manufacturer ITM Power to aid the development of hydrogen production ...

Mutant bacteria that keep on growing

Feb 18, 2015

The typical Escherichia coli, the laboratory rat of microbiology, is a tiny 1-2 thousandths of a millimeter long. Now, by blocking cell division, two researchers at Concordia University in Montreal have g ...

Voltage tester for beating cardiac cells

Feb 17, 2015

For the first time, scientists have succeeded in recording the current in membrane channels of contracting cardiac cells. To do this, the scientists combined an atomic force microscope with a widely used ...

Recommended for you

Semiconductor miniaturisation with 2D nanolattices

Feb 26, 2015

A European research project has made an important step towards the further miniaturisation of nanoelectronics, using a highly-promising new material called silicene. Its goal: to make devices of the future ...

Ultra-small block 'M' illustrates big ideas in drug delivery

Feb 26, 2015

By making what might be the world's smallest three-dimensional unofficial Block "M," University of Michigan researchers have demonstrated a nanoparticle manufacturing process capable of producing multilayered, precise shapes.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.