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Designer Biomaterials for Dynamic Control of Cell Behavior

Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
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Wednesday, March 27, 2019
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12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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Dr. Ronit Freeman | UNC Chapel Hill
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MEMS Seminar Series

Soft structures in nature such as protein assemblies can organize reversibly into functional and often hierarchical architectures through non-covalent interactions. Molecularly encoding this dynamic capability in synthetic materials has remained an elusive goal. My talk will describe hydrogels that organize into superstructures of intertwined filaments that disassemble upon the addition of molecules or changes in charge density. The storage moduli of the hydrogels change reversibly as superstructures form and disappear. Experiments and simulations demonstrate that this response requires large scale spatial redistribution of molecules directed by strong non-covalent interactions among them. Interestingly, reversible changes in the self-assembled architectures induce changes in the phenotype of neural cells in contact with these materials.

Dr. Ronit Freeman received her Bachelor in Chemistry and Computer Science from Bar-Ilan University in Israel. She earned her Master in Chemistry and PhD in Chemistry and NanoBioTechnology working with Prof. Itamar Willner at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, followed by a postdoctoral stay at the Simpson Querrey Institute supported by the European Molecular Biology Organization.

Lunch will be served at 11:30 am.

Hosted by Dr. Michael Rubinstein