A large number of biomolecules exhibit astonishing self-assembling capabilities that are of great importance for cellular functions but can also be exploited for the fabrication of functional materials and interfaces. However, biomolecules usually denature if they are not immersed into the proper buffer at the right temperature. The study of the interfacial behavior of biomolecules with their surrounding medium is thus vital to understanding fundamental processes such as protein folding, DNA nanostructure formation, virus capsid assembly, and their therapeutic and technological uses. One current example is using microarrays based on DNA self-assembled monolayers in various lab-on-a-chip assays. Other biomolecular systems that have been extensively investigated with regard to their various medical and technological applications are S-layer proteins, liposomes, and spherical nucleic acids. A number of liposome-encapsulated drugs are already approved for clinical use, while spherical nucleic acids have shown promising results in medical diagnostics, gene therapy, and biomolecular sensing. S-layer proteins on the other hand are ideally suited for the functionalization of large surface areas, thus yielding reactive surfaces for applications in filtration, catalysis, and detection. S-layer coated surfaces can furthermore be sequentially modified with bio-functional molecules, inorganic nanoparticles, dyes, and many other nanostructures, thus allowing the construction of well-defined multifunctional nanomaterials. Further examples of biomolecular self-assembly that currently receive tremendous attention various fields of materials science are for instance the controlled folding of DNA into nanoscale shapes (DNA origami), virus capsid formation, and the spontaneous aggregation of proteins and peptides into ordered amyloid fibrils. The resulting macromolecular assemblies have very interesting structural and mechanical properties and can be used as molecular breadboards for the arrangement of functional nanoparticles, templates for the fabrication of metallic nanowires, and even masks for molecular lithography.

Recently, more and more research efforts have focused at combining different self-assembling biomolecular systems. Examples include the DNA origami-templated growth of amyloid fibrils and the reversible stacking of phospholipid nanodiscs via DNA hybridization. This symposium will therefore bring together scientists diverse fields such as molecular biology, surface and interface chemistry, biophysics, and nanoscience and -technology, while maintaining a clear materials science focus. It will thus provide an interdisciplinary platform for the discussion, design, and investigation of materials and nanostructures with novel functionalities that result the rational combination of different biomolecular systems.

Symposium Topics

  • Structural and dynamic DNA nanotechnology
  • 2D crystals of S-layer proteins
  • DNA self-assembled monolayers
  • Self-assembling peptides and proteins
  • Amyloid fibrillation
  • DNA and peptide-based nanoelectronic devices
  • Biomolecular plasmonics
  • Surface-assisted self-assembly of DNA building blocks
  • Phospholipid-based systems: liposomes, micelles, nanodiscs
  • Spherical nucleic acids
  • Peptide and lipid-based micro- and nanotubes
  • S-layer crystallization: dynamics and control
  • Design of self-assembling peptides
  • Coil-coil protein assembly systems
  • Virus capsid-based materials

Invited Speakers

Thomas LaBean (North Carolina State University, USA), Jussi J. Toppari (University of Jyväskylä, Finland), Matteo Castronovo (University of Leeds, UK), Oliver Strube (Paderborn University, Germany), Stefan Howorka (University College London, UK), Tijana Z. Grove (Virginia Tech, USA), Wolfgang Fritzsche (IPHT Jena, Germany), Veikko Linko (Aalto University, Finland), Michael Mertig (KSI, Technische Universität Dresden, Germany), Alon A. Gorodetsky (UC Irvine, USA), Adam Woolley (Brigham Young University, USA), Sungwook Chung (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA), Martin Humenik (Universität Bayreuth, Germany), J. Alexander Liddle (NIST, USA)