Dr. Luai R. Khoury
Physics Department, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
Milwaukee, WI 53211, USA
Globular-protein-based hydrogels, which combine the advantages of controllable swelling behavior, biocompatibility, and (un)folding mechanics derived from their main building unit, folded proteins, have the potential to be a platform for studying protein nanomechanics, investigating mechanical and microstructure properties of hydrogels, and developing new biomaterials. As a result, a reliable method that can investigate the proteins (un)folding mechanics and characterize the mechanical properties of protein-based hydrogels is essential. In the first part of this talk, I will introduce a custom-made force-clamp rheometer that can measure and characterize the mechanical properties of extremely low-volume protein-based hydrogel samples. The second part will be allocated to how protein-environment interactions, protein structure versatility, and the physical folding code of a protein can be translated into engineering new “smart” responsive biomaterials. Finally, I will discuss provisional future projects for using proteins in designing advanced biomaterials.