Bioelectronic Biomembrane Devices for Cell-free Studies of Plasma Membrane Function
Cell membranes localize and orchestrate the critical cellular processes, reactions, and sensing that give rise to life. The variety of lipids and proteins comprising these biomembranes enables fine-tuned control of the biological processes happing within them. However, to discover how these complex and myriad components give rise to collective membrane properties and functions, we turn to approaches that reduce the system to minimal components and reverse engineer these cellular processes. In this talk, I will first teach you about simple supported lipid bilayer systems, the development of molecularly complex biomembrane mimics, spatio-temporal organization of membrane processes using microfluidics, and the coupling of these platforms with electrically conducting polymers for readout of information. I will describe how these platforms have informed the process of viral infection of cells, enable the study of ion channel function, and our vision for extending this work to studies of plant membrane biophysics, an emerging field of importance in the Digital Agriculture movement.