Please join the Department of Chemical Engineering to hear Professor Dorval Courchesne discuss her work to engineer curli fibers produced by Escherichia coli bacteria and confer them with properties relevant for biomedical devices.
All graduate ChE students will receive an Outlook calendar event with webinar access details.
Everyone is welcome – If you are not a graduate ChE student, contact the Manager of Graduate Studies for the access information you need to join the webinar.
Protein-based materials represent sustainable and easily customizable alternatives to conventional synthetic polymers. With their biocompatibility, bioactivity and genetic tunability, proteins can be customized for a range of biomedical applications. Specifically, protein materials that self-assemble into macromolecular structures and can be produced at large scale are of interest for deployment into wearable devices and tissue scaffolds.
Curli fibers produced by Escherichia coli bacteria represent a very promising protein scaffold due to their unique physicochemical properties. Once secreted by bacteria cells, CsgA subunits, the self-assembling repeats of curli fibers, form fibrous structures that can further aggregate and gel into macroscopic materials.
Professor Dorval Courchesne will describe advances from her group to engineer curli fibers and confer them with properties relevant for biomedical devices. First, she will present a strategy to fabricate wearable sensors made of genetically engineered curli fibers embedded in a textile matrix. Second, she will describe how the self-assembly mechanism of curli fibers can be utilized to drive the assembly of small peptides into supramolecular materials. Among other functionalities, they have genetically encoded in CsgA the ability to fluoresce in response to pH changes and the ability to nucleate mineral particles. These functional protein constructs serve as proof-of-concept for the development of biocompatible scaffolds and sensing platforms and expand the diversity of functional protein-based devices.
Noémie-Manuelle Dorval Courchesne joined McGill University as an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering in 2017. Previously, she completed her PhD in Chemical Engineering at MIT and her postdoc at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard.
She is a multidisciplinary chemical, materials and biological engineer with expertise in self-assembly of biological and organic molecules. In her research, she integrates synthetic biology with scalable assembly processes to fabricate functional materials. Prof. Dorval Courchesne is actively involved in industrially-relevant research, with the goal of introducing biologically-derived technologies in real-world products.
She is a member of several research networks, including the Quebec Center for Advanced Materials (QCAM) and the Research Center for High Performance Polymer and Composite Systems (CREPEC). In 2020, she was recognized for her research potential as the recipient of the Christopher Pierre Award for Research Excellence (Early Career) at McGill.