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MolES Seminar: Dr. Caroline Ajo-Franklin (Lawrence Berkeley Lab)
MolES Seminar: Dr. Caroline Ajo-Franklin (Lawrence Berkeley Lab)
WhenTuesday, Jan 29, 2019, 1 – 2 p.m.
Campus locationMolecular Engineering (MOL)
Campus roomNanoES 181
Event typesLectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsMolecular Engineering and Sciences

Molecular Engineering and Sciences Seminar Series
Engineering Microorganisms to Make and Communicate with Materials
Abstract: My research group uses biophysics and synthetic biology to engineer and explore the interface between living microbes and materials. We are particularly interested in the basic mechanisms underlying charge transfer and assembly of materials at this living/non-living interface.   In the first part of my talk, I will describe how we have engineered bi-directional electronic communication between living microbes and non-living systems using synthetic biology. By transplanting extracellular electron transfer pathways into the industrial organism Escherichia coli, we can confer upon these cells a molecularly-defined route to both accept and donate electrons to electrodes. Both current production and current consumption shift the metabolism of E. coli in well-defined ways, demonstrating that this electronic interface can control intracellular state. In the second part of my talk, I will describe how we have used surface-layer (S-layer) proteins as a programmable material. S-layer proteins form a highly ordered crystalline, yet porous, layer on the outermost cell surface of most species of bacteria and archaea. By engineering S-layers on the surface of different microorganisms, we can create patterned arrays that modulate both the binding and formation of soft and hard materials.

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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