Engineering Intelligence in Protein Biomaterials
Through centuries of evolution, nature has developed biopolymers capable of folding and assembling into discrete structures with a functional consequence. Inspired by this, our lab focuses on engineering “intelligent” protein biomaterials with entirely new properties and function. In particular, our lab has fabricated protein-derived nanomaterials. We investigate the fundamental self-assembly and molecular recognition capabilities of these protein nanomaterials and investigate the integration of unnatural amino acids to endow them with the ability to be imaged through magnetic resonance imaging. Finally, we are able to harness these structures to interface with small molecule therapeutics as a means to deliver therapies to serve as theranostic agents for biomedicine.