Biomaterials cover a broad range of materials that provide an interface between the biological and physical worlds. These include synthetic materials that repair, restore and replace biological functions or biologically-inspired/derived materials that provide new physical, electrical or optical functions. At UCSB, BMSE researchers are actively involved in biomaterial research including: drug and gene delivery carriers, biologically-inspired adhesives, tissue engineering, synovial fluids in joint lubrication, structural materials based upon the mechanical properties of biopolymers and biomembranes.
Physical foundations of macromolecular technology: self-assembly, polymer mechanics and stability, energy transport, diffusion, and DNA-based nanotechnology.
Molecular mechanisms of ribosome pausing during protein synthesis and recruitment of SsrA (tmRNA) to stalled ribosomes.
RNA folding and evolution; nucleic acid-based bionanotechnology and biomaterials; emergence of complexity in living systems.
Molecular mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease; structure/function studies on tau using NMR, spectroscopic, biochemical, molecular, and cell biological methods; role of cdk5/p35 in neuronal development and signal transduction.
Soft Matter Theory and Biological Physics
Macrophages patrol our tissues looking for signs of injury or infection. The Morrissey Lab wants to understand how macrophages measure, add and subtract all the signals they receive to calculate their response to a target. We use high resolution live imaging, synthetic biology and biochemistry to figure out when and where signaling molecules are activated to make these essential decisions. We are motivated by re-wiring macrophage signaling pathways to generate new cancer immunotherapies.
Bio-nano technology including molecular mechanisms controlling self assembly, emergent properties of biomolecular systems from minerals to dynamically tunable color in octopus skin; translation to revolutionary new routes to semiconductors, optoelectronics and energy.
Soft condensed matter theory including biopolymer and biomembrane electrostatics, protein-membrane interactions, biopolymer solutions, and solution properties of conjugated polymers.
Bioengineering and protein biophysics.
Enzymology of enzymes that modify nucleic acids, including bacterial and human epigenetic enzymes with biomedical relevance. Protein engineering, inhibitor design. Drug development. Nanoparticle-based delivery of siRNA, proteins, and drugs into cells (cancer/embryonic stem cell) and animals. Laser-dependent spatio-temporal control of drug targeting.
Human cells constantly repair DNA damage caused by everything from biological processes and chemical insults to CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing reagents. Cells repair DNA by spatially and temporally coordinating the activity of hundreds of individual DNA repair factors. Failure or inability to repair damaged DNA can result in innocuous sequence mutation, or severe consequences like genome instability and cell death. This interplay between DNA damage and repair is intricately linked to organismal biology and plays key roles in embryo development, carcinogenesis, and aging.
Structures and interactions in complex fluids and biological systems; new materials for gene delivery into mammalian cells.
The Saleh Group studies the physics of soft matter systems, with a focus on the active and passive micro-mechanics of biomolecules and polymers. These studies are pursued using modern instrumentation that permits insight into nanoscale structure and forces.
Molecular biology of animal virus-cell interactions; antiviral innate immunity & mechanisms of interferon action; translational control of gene expression in mammalian cells; A-to-I RNA editing; new materials for gene delivery into mammalian cells.
Design, synthesis, and characterization of new bioinorganic materials with an emphasis on understanding interface assembly & control of bioprocesses.
Biochemistry and biophysics of bio-adhesion in marine organisms; bio- and nanomechanics of sclerotized composites; liquid crystals and molecular gradients in biomolecular materials.
The Wilson Lab comines tools from Biology, Engineering, and Physics to understand the cell's perceptual field.