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Molecular Biomimetics and Magnets Biomineralization: Towards Swimming Nanorobots


Nature not only provides inspiration for designing new materials but also teaches us how to use interparticle and external forces to structure and assemble these building blocks into functional entities. Magnetotactic bacteria and their chain of magnetosome represent a striking example of such an accomplishment where a simple living organism precisely tune the properties of inorganics that in turn guide the cell movement thereby providing an energetic advantage vs. the non-magnetotactic counterparts.
In this project, we will develop a bio-inspired research based on magnetotactic bacteria. We will combine the recent developments of nanoscale engineering in the chemical science and the latest advances in molecular biology to create a novel methodology enabling first, the understanding of the control of biological determinants over single inorganic building blocks at the nanoscale and over highly-organized hierarchical structures, and second, the use of these biomacromolecules to construct new functional materials.
We will use phage display to genetically select peptides specifically binding to magnetite and look for homology within the available genomes of the different strains of magnetotactic bacteria in order to detect promising biological determinants. We will screen the identified compounds by our in-house developed high-throughput technique based on force microscopy. On the one hand, the effect of the high potential biological determinant on the properties of magnetic nanoparticles will be tested under physiological conditions in biomimetic reactor. On the other hand, we will use the knowledge gained from the binding capacities of the peptides to functionalize magnetite nanoparticles and assemble them in order to eventually form a swimming nanorobots that can be directed by an external magnetic field while transporting beads.

Call for proposal

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Hofgartenstrasse 8
80539 Munchen

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Bayern Oberbayern München, Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Research Organisations
Administrative Contact
Nadine Stolz (Ms.)
Principal investigator
Damien Faivre (Dr.)
EU contribution
No data

Beneficiaries (1)