News Release
 

June 8, 2011

CONTACT: Karen Kreeger
215-349-5658
karen.kreeger@uphs.upenn.edu

Penn Medicine - University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and University of Pennsylvania Health System


This release is available online at
http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2011/06/self-assembling-proteins/

Penn Researchers Help Nanoscale Engineers Choose
Self-Assembling Proteins

 

PHILADELPHIA — Bioengineers are using molecules and individual atoms as building blocks to make nanoscale structures inspired by natural viruses. An interdisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania has now developed a method of computationally selecting the best of these blocks, drawing ideas from viral proteins in making biological structures. The team was led by postdoctoral fellow Gevorg Grigoryan, PhD and professor William DeGrado, PhD, of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics in Penn's Perelman School of Medicine, as well as graduate student Yong Ho Kim of the Department of Chemistry in Penn's School of Arts and Sciences. Their colleagues also included members of the Department of Physics and Astronomy in SAS. Their research was published in the journal Science. The team set out to design proteins that could wrap around single-walled carbon nanotubes. Consisting of a cylindrical pattern of carbon atoms tens of thousands of times thinner than a human hair, nanotubes are enticing to nanoengineers as they are extraordinarily strong and could be useful as platform for other nano-structures. "We wanted to achieve a specific geometric pattern of the atoms that these proteins are composed of on the surface of the nanotube," Grigoryan said. "If you know the underlying atomic lattice, it means that you know how to further build around it, how to attach things to it. It's like scaffolding for future building." For full news release and related image, please see: http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/news/penn-researchers-help-nanoscale-engineers-choose-self-assembling-proteins

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Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $4.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 17 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $392 million awarded in the 2013 fiscal year.

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