Heilshorn Biomaterials Group

Materials Science & Engineering Department
Stanford University

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Kelly Huggins

email: khuggins AT stanford DOT edu

Dept: Materials Science & Engineering

B.A.  Biochemistry,
    Mount Holyoke College

Ph.D.  Chemistry,
    University of Washington

Biotemplating is an inorganic synthetic strategy that exploits the uniform, regular stable structures of natural biological scaffolds for nanoparticle formation. Protein assemblies, in particular, exhibit useful characteristics for biotemplating due to the infinite structures of different sizes and shapes that form under mild conditions in vitro. In addition, protein assemblies contain a multitude of exposed sites that can be modified to interact with the inorganic material of interest. My current project uses a unique strategy for nanoparticle formation using a self-assembling protein, clathrin, a key protein in the formation of coated vesicles that transport cargo across lipid membranes. Clathrin assembles into cage-like structures in vivo and can be induced to self-assemble in vitro into 3D cages, cubes, tetrahedra, and 2D lattice structures, offering a variable surface size and shape for inorganic nanoparticle formation. With such a flexible protein biotmeplate, synthesis of 2D and 3D conducting metal/metal oxide nanostructures (applicable in fuel cells, solar cells, and other devices) can be carried out under less harsh conditions relative to traditional synthetic routes, contributing to "greener" strategies in developing inorganic nanomaterials.

Materials Science & Engineering DepartmentStanford University

Updated 7/11