My interest is in the use of proteins to develop new materials. Inspired by the precedent set by nature, I believe that recombinant structural proteins are ideal templates for design of ‘information-encoding’ polymers. The majority of my research focuses on overcoming limitations of existing systems to enable design of advanced protein-based materials.
As a polymer scientist I am inspired by the way nature produces polymers, such as proteins and carbohydrates, with unique structures and properties. The ability to produce recombinant materials, coupled with our increased understanding of the relationship between the structure and properties of these materials, will allow us to eventually design bio-inspired materials with tailored properties.
As a molecular spectroscopist, I am intrigued by the way electromagnetic radiation interacts with materials. The interpretation of these interactions is key to developing an understanding of a materials molecular structure. For myself, biomaterials are the most interesting as their structures can be very complex. The correlation of structure at the molecular level to a material’s properties and functions is the ultimate goal.
I am an evolutionary biologist interested in what we can learn from nature and how we can apply this information to making new materials. The aucleate insects (ants, bees and wasps) produce an amazing coiled coil silk that they use to build domiciles, protect larvae and support wax hives. I am intrested in why these animals have done this for over 150 myrs and what we can learn from the evolution of this material to make novel advanced materials.
As a bioinorganic chemist, I am fascinated at how biology uses metals to carry out extremely complex chemistry. I am interested in developing metalloprotein mimics to provide new biomaterials. My approach is to use honeybee silk as the protein engineering scaffold to engineer stable, reusable solid-state metalloproteins.