Nano@Tech: Self-Assembled Networks of Biological Membranes

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Self-Assembled Networks of Biological Membranes

Prof. Eric Freeman
College of Engineering, University of Georgia

ABSTRACT: Biologically inspired materials attempt to replicate the elegant engineering solutions observed in the natural world.  Observing that many of these solutions are multiscale hierarchical structures comprised of nature’s building block, the cell, a new class of stimuli-responsive materials is proposed based on cellular capabilities.  While fully replicating cellular functionality is well beyond the scope of any laboratory, we examine this concept through the creation of synthetic cellular membranes in complex arrangements, combining emulsions, interfacial chemistry, and digital microfluidics.  This envisioned material platform has been successfully applied towards the creation of biological sensors, actuators and energy harvesters, but there is ample room for improvement in the concept.  This presentation focuses on better understanding the underlying mechanics of the membrane networks in order to improve their stability, durability, and reliability in non-laboratory environments, promoting their adoption as novel engineering materials.  This is accomplished by investigating new methods for solidifying the networks, creating models for their behavior under mechanical constraints, and investigating non-contact methods for their manipulation.

BIO: Eric Freeman is currently an assistant professor in the College of Engineering at the University of Georgia.  He completed his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and Material Science at the University of Pittsburgh in 2012, then worked as a postdoctoral associate in the Biomolecular Materials and Systems group at Virginia Tech for two years before joining the faculty at UGA.  He is an active member of the biologically inspired smart materials community, and combines computational and mathematical modeling with experimental validation in his interdisciplinary research.


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Christa Ernst
  • Created:02/24/2017
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:04/13/2017