You're invited to join the Department of Chemical Engineerig for a seminar by Dr. Abdon Pena-Francesch an Assistant Professor in Macromolecular Science and Engineering and Robitcs at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Recent research efforts have focused on developing soft, flexible, compliant materials for robotics, biointerfacing, and biosensing applications. Because of their intrinsic softness, these materials are vulnerable to cut, puncture, and/or tear damage that compromise their physical integrity, limit their use in dynamic environments, and reduce their operational lifetime. In this talk, we will introduce cephalopod-inspired, self-assembled polypeptides that self-heal micro- and macro-scale mechanical damage via β-sheet physical cross-linking.
These synthetic proteins and their amino acid sequences are systematically optimized to improve their hydrogen-bonded nanostructures and network topology, with healing strength and kinetics surpassing those typically found in other natural and synthetic soft materials (~25 MPa strength after 1 second of healing). The fast and strong healing performance of these polypeptides opens new opportunities for bioinspired materials design, and provides a promising platform for self-healing and adaptive materials with applications in soft robotics and wearable technology.
Abdon Pena-Francesch is an assistant professor in Materials Science and Engineering, Macromolecular Science and Engineering, and Robotics at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor. He obtained his PhD from Penn State University, his BSc and MSc from the Chemical Institute of Sarrià (Barcelona, Spain), and was a Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (Stuttgart, Germany). Abdon’s interests are in the field of biomaterials science, polymer chemistry, soft matter physics, and nanotechnology, with focus on exploring biological and bioinspired materials for healthcare, robotics, and environmental applications.