WIN Seminar - Professor Jun Yang: "Conductive Bacterial Nanowires: Fundamentals and Applications for Environment and Energy"

Thursday, November 2, 2017 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm EDT (GMT -04:00)

The Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN) presents a seminar by Professor Jun Yang, from the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, University of Western Ontario, Ontario, Canada

Conductive Bacterial Nanowires: Fundamentals and Applications for Environment and Energy


Electron transfer is fundamental to the metabolism of biological systems. Microorganisms extract electrons by oxidizing a wide range of electron sources and transport them to electron receptors. Extracellular electron transfer takes place in dissimilatory metalreducing bacteria (DMRB) when electron acceptors are not soluble and not accessible to intracellular enzymes. Various mechanisms of extracellular electron transfer have been reported for DMRB. Recent reports suggested that extracellular electron transfer may be facilitated by pilus-like appendages also called bacterial nanowires, because they are conductive. However, there is no evidence presented to verify electron transport along the length direction of bacterial nanowires. The mechanism of electron transport in such conductive bacterial nanowires is still not clear. Here we apply multiple nanotechnological tools to study electrical and other physical properties of such conductive bacterial nanowires. We also demonstrated the potential applications of such bacteria for energy and environmental applications. Our data establish bacterial nanowires as a viable strategy of extracellular electron transport. This function of bacterial nanowires implies many applications in environment, energy and bioelectronics.

Jun Yang is Professor in Mechanical & Materials Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, and Director of WIN 4.0 (Western’s Industry 4.0 Network) at Western University (The University of Western Ontario). His research interests include Additive Manufacturing/3D Printing, Printed Electronics, Metamaterials, MEMS, Flexible/wearable Electronics, Sensors and Actuators, Biophysics and Surface Science. He has published more than 110 papers including multiple cover articles in high quality journals such as Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., Nano Letters, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., The Journal of Clinical Investigation, ACS Nano, Advanced Functional Materials, IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices, IEEE/ASME Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems, Biosensors and Bioelectronics. etc. He holds 18 granted/pending patents. Three of his inventions have been licensed to industries. He has given ~ 80 plenary/keynote/invited talks on conferences, symposiums and workshops. Dr. Yang was a recipient of 2006 PetroCanada Young Innovators Award, 2009 Early Researcher Award, 2012 University’s Faculty Scholar Award, 2012 and 2014 Western Innovation Funds Award, Second place, 3rd China Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition, 2015 Xerox UAC Award, 2016 NSERC Discovery Accelerator Award and 2017 Western’s Vanguard Awards.