Women in Nanoscience

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Women in Nano Blog

Washing proteins off surfaces with light

Posted on July 25, 2015 at 7:45 PM

Surfaces patterned with proteins have many potential applications in biological systems, including selective biosensors or experimental platforms capable of studying fundamental biological processes. But creating these surfaces requires a complicated fabrication procedure and they can be used only be used once because ridding the surface of the proteins, once patterned, is also quite complicated.


(Front L-R: Dr. Karen Chong, Jaclyn Ng, Zerxin Wu, Back L-R: Marcus Seah, Zhihern Ler).
 

Dr. Karen Chong, a senior scientist at the A*STAR Institute of Material Research and Engineering in Singapore, thought there could be more a sustainable way to make protein-patterned surfaces. In a recent article published in ACS Nano, Chong and her research team demonstrated the "fabrication of self-cleaning, reusable titania templates for nanometer and micrometer scale protein patterning." They used interferometric lithography and nanoimprint lithography techniques to develop an easy and scalable fabrication method to make protein-patterned surfaces. Surfaces of titania nanostructures were first covered with protein-resistant silane, which degrades when exposed to ultraviolet light, allowing proteins to adhere to the region selected by the degradation. After the surface has been used, researchers can simply re-expose the surface to UV light to remove the proteins.

 

Dr. Chong currently serves as the manager for the Nanoimprint Foundry at A*STAR institute and leads research in nanofabrication, nanoscale tribology and microbiology. She received the 2013 A*STAR "Most Inspiring Mentor" Award as well as the TUM-SNIC Industry Award in Chemistry Education, and a 2011 A*STAR Talent Award. More information about Dr. Chong can be found on her website, here.


- Written by Eugene Choi, Edited by Paulette Clancy


(Photo credit: Provided by and used with permission from Dr. Chong).

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