IRG Leaders: Daniel A. Hammer & Virgil Percec
Senior Investigators; Jason A. Burdick, William F. DeGrado, Mark D. Goulian, Paul A. Heiney, Daeyeon Lee, and Michael L. Klein
IRG-2 will create new materials, inspired by virology, from self-assembled Janus dendrimers and designer proteins. These new materials, with virus-like structures and functions, will be useful for sensing, communication, and response. Self-assembling amphiphilic Janus-dendrimers (JDs) - dendrimers with two faces, one hydrophilic and one hydrophobic - will be used to build novel nano-structures which will be equipped with components to amplify signals, inactivate viruses, and harvest energy. The IRG will engineer novel functionality into JD-vesicles (JDVs) using the structure of nature's viruses as a guiding principle. Specifically, the IRG will design, synthesize, and characterize functional virus-like JDVs using an array of experimental tools, guided by state-of-the-art computer simulations. The collective effort of the group will be directed to design and optimize JD building blocks and peptide motifs that enable self-assembly and the integration of components into functioning virus-like nano-systems, containing self-assembling protein capsids and/or active sensory components, to ultimately produce entirely new smart nano-materials.