21 November 2018
Time: 3:00 - 4:00pm
Speaker: Assistant Professor Mischa Zelzer
Venue: PP1 People's Palace, Mile End Campus, Queen Mary University of London
The elegance of biological systems that exploit self-assembly of molecules into larger, functional structures continues to capture our imagination to develop new materials and technologies in biomaterial science, drug delivery and electronics to name but a few. This is notwithstanding the inherent challenges posed to control or direct the self-assembly process due the multitude of parameters (pH, temperature, concentration, solvent etc.) influencing the formation of supramolecular materials. Despite its importance, the effect of the surrounding material, i.e. the vessel or environment that the supramolecular material is formed in, is largely neglected. An injectable, supramolecular drug delivery system, for example, may behave considerably differently when formed in a reaction vessel or in biological tissue due to interference of the environment on the self-assembling process. We have used well-defined surfaces to explore how the environment affects the self-assembly of a nucleoside based gelator, identify key surface parameters that enable improved control over interfacial self-assembly. We use this understanding to create peptide based hydrogels that display chemically homogeneous but mechanically heterogeneous properties which can be spatially controlled.