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MolES Seminar: Joanna Aizenberg (Harvard University)
MolES Seminar: Joanna Aizenberg (Harvard University)
WhenTuesday, Oct 3, 2017, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Campus locationAnderson Hall (AND)
Campus room223
Event typesLectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsMolecular Engineering and Sciences

Say ‘no’ to biofouling: Slippery coatings that resist adhesion of biological matter

Living organisms and biological substances are among the most difficult and persistent sources of surface fouling, particularly in medical and marine settings. The ability of organisms to adapt, move, cooperate, evolve on short timescales, and modify surfaces by secreting proteins and other molecules enables them to colonize even state-of-the-art antifouling coatings, and small surface defects can trigger protein aggregation and blood clotting. Attempts to combat these issues are further hindered by conflicting requirements at different size scales and across different species. Our recently developed concept of Slippery, Liquid-Infused Porous Surfaces (SLIPS) provides a defect-free, dynamic liquid interface that overcomes many of these problems at once. A single surface is able to prevent adhesion of a broad range of genetically diverse bacteria, including many pathogenic species that underlie widespread hospital-acquired infections, as well as marine algae. The same approach resists adhesion of proteins, cells, and blood, preventing clogging and thrombus formation inside medical tubing and catheters. At a larger scale, the slippery interface repels insects, barnacles and mussels, which slide off and actively avoid the coated surface. We are currently developing this strategy to solve longstanding fouling issues in a wide range of medical, marine, and other settings.


Joanna Aizenberg pursues a broad range of research interests that include biomimetics, smart materials, wetting phenomena, bio-nano interfaces, self-assembly, crystal engineering, surface chemistry, structural color and biomineralization. She received the B.S. degree in Chemistry in 1981, the M.S. degree in Physical Chemistry in 1984 from Moscow State University, and the Ph.D. degree in Structural Biology from the Weizmann Institute of Science in 1996.
After spending nearly a decade at Bell Labs, Joanna joined Harvard University, where she is the Amy Smith Berylson Professor of Materials Science, Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Director of the Kavli Institute for Bionano Science and Technology and Platform Leader in the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. The Aizenberg lab’s research is aimed at understanding some of the basic principles of biological architectures and the economy with which biology solves complex problems in the design of multifunctional, adaptive materials. She then uses biological principles as guidance in developing new, bio-inspired synthetic routes and nanofabrication strategies that would lead to advanced materials and devices, with broad implications in fields ranging from architecture to energy efficiency to medicine.

Molecular Engineering and Sciences Seminar Series

This weekly seminar brings together students, faculty and invited guests from various disciplines across campus to explore current trends in molecular engineering and nanotechnology. It is a  forum for active interdisciplinary discussions.  These talks are open to the public and attract a diverse audience of students and faculty.…
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