Materials Science and Engineering Colloquium


Daniel Hammer, Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania

Date Mon, 03/12/2018

100 Materials Science and Engineering Building

Time 4:00 pm

Materials Science and Engineering

Event Type Seminar/Symposium

"Steps toward developing multifunctional protocells"


A protocell is a synthetic cell which is modeled upon the structure of a real cell but built from novel components that impart designer functionality. We describe efforts to make protocells that can secrete, respond to environmental conditions, or are motile. The design is based on three principles. One is that membranes can be made of a variety of surfactants such as polymers or proteins. The second is that enzyme turnover generates a force that can be harnessed to cause the motion of a protocells. The third is that membraneless organelles can be made from recombinantly made self-assembled intrinsically disordered proteins. We show how these three principles can be combined to make secretory protocells, protocells that display autonomous motility, and organelles that assemble and disassemble in response to protease activity. We discuss future efforts to assemble these components to make novel responsive materials and cell-like materials with logical control.