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Seminar 9/25/2013 - Maria Santore, University of Massachusetts-Amherst: Biological Function without the Complexity

Title: Biological Function without the Complexity: Translating Fundamental Interfacial Principles to Biomimetic Performance

Abstract: In smart or biomimetic materials, biomolecules such as DNA and antibodies, or at least their fragments, are incorporated into materials to accomplish their natural tasks in a modified synthetic environment.  For products that interface with biological tissues and fluids, these tasks often include targeted recognition and signaling.  Aiming to create biomimetic functional materials without incorporating biomolecules, and stepping away from the single- and sub-nanometer lengthscales of biomolecular recognition, our research extends principles of complex interactions to longer interfacial lengthscales:  Even when chemical functionality, such as cationic charge, is fundamentally non- specific (ie cannot distinguish between different negative objects), we show that its interfacial arrangement in ~10 nm clusters, and lateral interfacial arrangements of competing interactions can produce sharply targeted adhesion and control of adhesive dynamics.  Examples include selective capture of particles based on curvature, protein separations, and dynamic adhesion of particles in shear, the latter mimicking the motions of white blood cells flowing near the infection sites.  This talk will review the physico-chemical aspects of biomimetic interfacial mechanisms, (for instance multivalency, spatial fluctuations, and coordinated interactions) and address the translation of these mechanisms from model systems to useful protein and cell manipulations.

Bio: Maria Santore is a Professor of Polymer Science and Engineering, with a secondary appointment Chemical Engineering at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Santore was trained formally as a Chemical Engineer, obtaining her B.S. at Carnegie Mellon and Ph.D. at Princeton.  Following her Ph.D., Santore’s postdoctoral studies of polymer glasses and blends in the Polymer Division at NIST in Gaithersburg MD were supported by an NRC Postdoctoral Fellowship.

She joined the Chemical Engineering Department at Lehigh University as the Dana Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering and was promoted to Associate Professor in subsequent years.  She was awarded the Alfred Nobel Robinson Award for outstanding research in 1996 and was named the Class of 1961 Chaired Associate Professor while at Lehigh.  Following a sabbatical at the Institute for Medicine and Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania (with Professors Dan Hammer and Dennis Discher) she joined the University of Massachusetts Department of Polymer Science and Engineering as a Full Professor.

Santore is currently a senior editor of Langmuir, the ACS (American Chemical Society) Journal of Surfaces and Colloids, and a section editor for the Elsevier Journal Current Opinion in Colloid and Interface Science.  She is a Fellow in the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Chemical Society and will be organizing the 2016 Gordon Conferences on Colloidal, Macromolecular and Polyelectrolyte Solutions in Ventura.  Her research focuses on dynamic aspects of bioadhesion, cell manipulation, and targeted delivery using polymers, biomacromolecules, colloids, and nanoparticles at surfaces.

All seminars are held on Wednesdays from 12:00 noon-1:00 p.m. in the Bowen Hall Auditorium Room 222. A light lunch is provided at 11:30 a.m. in the Bowen Hall Atrium immediately prior to the seminar.

Location: Bowen Hall Auditorium

Date/Time: 09/25/13 at 12:00 pm - 09/25/13 at 1:00 pm

Category: PRISM/PCCM Seminar Series

Department: PRISM