NCCR - Molecular Systems Engineering

  1. Projects

Bio-decorated Membranes

Bio-decorated membranes combine the specificity and efficacy of biological entities (proteins, peptides, DNA) with stability and the opportunity to chemicaly tailor the properties of polymeric membranes. This represent a novel concept with great potential in diagnostic and therapeutics.

Colaboration: Prof. Sabine Van Doorslaer, Antwerp University
Prof. J. Xu, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing
Prof. Martin Malmsten, Uppsala University, Sweden
Prof. C. Draghici, Transilvania University, Brasov

Protein - Polymer Nanoreactors

We design and test nanoreactors based on encapsulation of enzymes, mimics and combination of enzymes acting in tandem (SOD, Catalase, Horseradish Peroxidase, Lactoperoxidase, etc) in polymeric nanovesicles. The permeable polymer membrane provides a selective shielding of sensitive enzymes, which are able to act in situ with an increased effectiveness to fight against environmental conditions (oxydative stress).

Colaboration: Prof. J. Huwyler, Basel University
Prof. Luc Moens, Antwerp University

Interaction between metal complexes and block copolymers

We study the interactions between metal complexes and self-assembling copolymers that form vesicles in dilute conditions via encapsulation inside the inner cavity, reconstitution of complexes in polymer membrane, or grafting of metal moieties at vesicles surface. These hybrid systems are intended to be applied in molecular recognition, sensing, or as therapeutic carriers.

Colaboration: Prof. Sabine Van Doorslaer, Antwerp University
Prof. Abhay Pandit, Gallway University, Ireland

Metal complexes as enzyme - mimics

Several proteins or small metal complexes acting as mimics have been proposed as pharmaceutical agents, due to the role of the metal region in their biological activity (ATP-ases, chaperons, frataxin, superoxid dismutases, cytochrome C, etc). We are interested to study which is the biological role of the metal region, and how is this changing in complex environments, such as polymer or lipidic media, simulated biological fluids, etc. We use as methods for structure characterisation:

- Magnetic resonance (EPR, NMR)
- FCS, FCCS, IR, UV-Vis, Raman and CD spectroscopy
- X-ray diffraction
- Molecular modelling (Molecular mechanics, DFT calculations).

Colaboration: Prof. Daniella Goldfarb, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel