The development of the new shape-shifting nanomaterial at Emory was ‘a fortuitous accident’ according to the researchers.(Reuters file photo. Representative image)
The development of the new shape-shifting nanomaterial at Emory was ‘a fortuitous accident’ according to the researchers.(Reuters file photo. Representative image)

Biomedical scientists invent shape-shifting nanomaterial with biogenic capabilities

The Journal of the American Chemical Society published a description of the nanomaterial which in sheet form is 10,000 times thinner than the width of a human hair, is made of synthetic collagen. Naturally, occurring collagen is the most abundant protein in humans, making the new material intrinsically biocompatible.
By Asian News International| Posted by: Harshit Sabarwal | Georgia
PUBLISHED ON JAN 08, 2021 02:34 PM IST

Made of synthetic collagen, scientists from Emory University have developed a new nanomaterial that can trigger shape lift from sheets to tubes and back in a controllable fashion. The tool is claimed to have a range of biomedical applications, from controlled-release drug delivery to tissue engineering too.

The Journal of the American Chemical Society published a description of the nanomaterial which in sheet form is 10,000 times thinner than the width of a human hair, is made of synthetic collagen. Naturally, occurring collagen is the most abundant protein in humans, making the new material intrinsically biocompatible.

Vincent Conticello, senior author of the finding and Emory professor of biomolecular chemistry said, “ For the first time, we can convert it from sheets to tubes and back simply by varying the pH, or acid concentration, in its environment.”

The Emory Office of Technology Transfer has applied for a provisional patent for the nanomaterial.

Collagen is the main structural protein in the body’s connective tissue, such as cartilage, bones, tendons, ligaments, and skin. It is also abundant in blood vessels, the gut, muscles, and in other parts of the body.

Collagen taken from other mammals, such as pigs, is sometimes used for wound healing and other medical applications in humans. Conticello’s lab is one of only about a few dozen around the world focused on developing synthetic collagen suitable for applications in biomedicine and other complex technologies. Such synthetic designer biomaterials can be controlled in ways that natural collagen cannot.

“As far back as 30 years ago, it became possible to control the sequence of collagen. The field has really picked up steam, however, during the past 15 years due to advances in crystallography and electron microscopy, which allows us to better analyze structures at the nano-scale,” Conticello said.

The development of the new shape-shifting nanomaterial at Emory was ‘a fortuitous accident’ according to the researchers.

The collagen protein is composed of a triple helix of fibers that wrap around one another like a three-stranded rope. The strands are not flexible, they’re stiff like pencils, and they pack together tightly in a crystalline array.

The Conticello lab has been working with collagen sheets that it developed for a decade. “A sheet is one large, two-dimensional crystal, but because of the way the peptides pack it’s like a whole bunch of pencils bundled together,” Conticello explained. Half the pencils in the bundle have their leads pointing up and the other half have their eraser-end pointing up.

Conticello wanted to try to refine the collagen sheets so that each side would be limited to one functionality. To take the pencil analogy further, one surface of the sheet would be all lead points and the other surface would be all erasers. The ultimate goal was to develop collagen sheets that could be integrated with a medical device by making one surface compatible with the device and the other surface compatible with functional proteins in the body.

When the researchers engineered these separate types of surfaces into single collagen sheets, however, they were surprised to learn that it caused the sheets to curl up like scrolls. They then found that the shape-shifting transition was reversible -- they could control whether a sheet was flat or scrolled simply by changing the pH of the solution it was in. They also demonstrated that they could tune the sheets to shapeshift at particular pH levels in a way that could be controlled at the molecular level through design.

Conticello said, “That opens the potential to find a way to load a therapeutic into a collagen tube under controlled, laboratory conditions. The collagen tube could then be tuned to unfurl and release the drug molecules it contains after it enters the pH environment of a human cell.”

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
World chess champion Viswanathan Anand of India at the FIDE World Chess Championship in Moscow, Russia.
World chess champion Viswanathan Anand of India at the FIDE World Chess Championship in Moscow, Russia.

Human brain may get beaten by AI in chess, but not in memory: Study

ANI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 04:20 PM IST
In the last decades, Artificial Intelligence has shown to be very good at achieving exceptional goals in several fields.
Close
A new study has found that deep sleep has an ancient, restorative power to clear waste from the brain which potentially includes toxic proteins that may lead to neurodegenerative disease.(ANI)
A new study has found that deep sleep has an ancient, restorative power to clear waste from the brain which potentially includes toxic proteins that may lead to neurodegenerative disease.(ANI)

Neurodegenerative diseases can be prevented by deep sleep

ANI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 03:44 PM IST
A new study has found that deep sleep has an ancient, restorative power to clear waste from the brain which potentially includes toxic proteins that may lead to neurodegenerative disease.
Close
A new study has found that gene-editing techniques like CRISPR-Cas hold the power to rectify inherited retinal degenerative mutations, which are the primary cause of blindness.(ANI)
A new study has found that gene-editing techniques like CRISPR-Cas hold the power to rectify inherited retinal degenerative mutations, which are the primary cause of blindness.(ANI)

Gene editing techniques helpful in retinal degeneration treatment

ANI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 10:43 AM IST
A new study has found that gene-editing techniques like CRISPR-Cas hold the power to rectify inherited retinal degenerative mutations, which are the primary cause of blindness.
Close
Health workers prepare to administer the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at an NHS vaccination centre in York, Britain, January 22, 2021. REUTERS/Lee Smith(REUTERS)
Health workers prepare to administer the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at an NHS vaccination centre in York, Britain, January 22, 2021. REUTERS/Lee Smith(REUTERS)

Dramatic changes to radiotherapy treatments in England due to Covid-19

ANI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 10:18 AM IST
The new research, led by the University of Leeds, with Public Health England and the Royal College of Radiologists, reveals that there was a decrease in radiotherapy treatment courses of 19.9% in April, 6.2% in May, and 11.6% in June 2020, compared with the same months the previous year.
Close
An Indian-origin expert at the University of Birmingham has led an international study which finds that patients’ chances of survival after cancer surgery is strongly linked with the standard of post-operative hospital care.(Unsplash)
An Indian-origin expert at the University of Birmingham has led an international study which finds that patients’ chances of survival after cancer surgery is strongly linked with the standard of post-operative hospital care.(Unsplash)

Indian-origin expert leads UK study on cancer survival chances

PTI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 06:06 PM IST
An Indian-origin expert at the University of Birmingham has led an international study which finds that patients’ chances of survival after cancer surgery is strongly linked with the standard of post-operative hospital care.
Close
Spinal cord injuries in humans, often caused by sports or traffic accidents, leave them paralyzed because not all of the nerve fibers that carry information between muscles and the brain are able to grow back.(Unsplash)
Spinal cord injuries in humans, often caused by sports or traffic accidents, leave them paralyzed because not all of the nerve fibers that carry information between muscles and the brain are able to grow back.(Unsplash)

German scientists make paralyzed mice walk again

Reuters, Germany
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 03:19 PM IST
German researchers have enabled mice paralyzed after spinal cord injuries to walk again, re-establishing a neural link hitherto considered irreparable in mammals by using a designer protein injected into the brain.
Close
 (HT llustration: Gajanan Nirphale)
(HT llustration: Gajanan Nirphale)

In her element: Talking to theoretical physicist Rohini M Godbole

PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 03:04 PM IST
Godbole, who recently received the Order of Merit from France, has dedicated her life to the pure sciences, and to bringing more women into the field. Why is that so crucial? Because what you study is partly defined by who you are, she says.
Close
Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (green) infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (yellow), also known as novel coronavirus, isolated from a patient sample(REUTERS)
Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (green) infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (yellow), also known as novel coronavirus, isolated from a patient sample(REUTERS)

Study sheds light on role played by immune system's T-cells against coronavirus

PTI, Los Angeles
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 02:45 PM IST
In particular, they said "memory" CD8 T cells are important for protecting the body from reinfection against many viruses.
Close
A new study has found out that Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS), which is a non-invasive way of stimulating the brain over the Wernicke's area, may lead to new assistive neurotechnologies for the rehabilitation of people with cognitive disorders in future.(ANI)
A new study has found out that Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS), which is a non-invasive way of stimulating the brain over the Wernicke's area, may lead to new assistive neurotechnologies for the rehabilitation of people with cognitive disorders in future.(ANI)

Direct current stimulation over brain's Wernicke area can help learning words

ANI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 02:02 PM IST
A new study has found out that Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS), which is a non-invasive way of stimulating the brain over the Wernicke's area, may lead to new assistive neurotechnologies for the rehabilitation of people with cognitive disorders in future.
Close
Scientists know that SARS-CoV-2 binds the ACE2 receptor on the surface of human cells, after which it enters the cell through a process known as endocytosis.(AFP)
Scientists know that SARS-CoV-2 binds the ACE2 receptor on the surface of human cells, after which it enters the cell through a process known as endocytosis.(AFP)

New study explains how SARS-CoV-2 may seize human cells

ANI, Washington
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 10:03 AM IST
The findings also highlight that the possibilities could potentially serve as targets for new therapies for patients with Covid-19, although validation in cells and animal models is needed.
Close
Representational image(Unsplash)
Representational image(Unsplash)

Behind those dancing robots, scientists had to bust a move

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 11:46 PM IST
Behind those dancing robots, scientists had to bust a move
Close
A KAIST team's mathematical modelling has revealed that efficient brain circuitry develops spontaneously by showing that the topographic tiling of cortical maps originates from bottom-up projections from the periphery.(ANI)
A KAIST team's mathematical modelling has revealed that efficient brain circuitry develops spontaneously by showing that the topographic tiling of cortical maps originates from bottom-up projections from the periphery.(ANI)

Study reveals how efficient brain circuitry develops spontaneously

ANI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 20, 2021 04:20 PM IST
A KAIST team's mathematical modelling has revealed that efficient brain circuitry develops spontaneously by showing that the topographic tiling of cortical maps originates from bottom-up projections from the periphery.
Close
Immunotherapies are cancer drugs that essentially block the "don't-eat-me" signal coming from cancer and allow the immune-system to kill it. (Representative Image)(ANI)
Immunotherapies are cancer drugs that essentially block the "don't-eat-me" signal coming from cancer and allow the immune-system to kill it. (Representative Image)(ANI)

Researchers find how cancer can be killed by body's own immune system

ANI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 17, 2021 03:12 PM IST
In a previous study, scientists at the Cancer Research Center and the University of Missouri developed a genetically distinct and non-toxic strain of salmonella called CRC2631 to select and kill cancer cells.
Close
Painters refurbish the NASA logo on the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.(AFP)
Painters refurbish the NASA logo on the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.(AFP)

NASA test of mega Moon rocket engines cut short

AFP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 17, 2021 12:54 PM IST
  • Despite being cut short, NASA said the test of the RS-25 engines had provided valuable information for the planned missions.
Close
Space Launch System's hot fire test, expected to begin at 5 pm(@NASA/Twitter )
Space Launch System's hot fire test, expected to begin at 5 pm(@NASA/Twitter )

NASA's Boeing moon rocket set for 'once-in-a-generation' ground test

Reuters, Washington
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 07:33 PM IST
The expendable super heavy-lift SLS is three years behind schedule and nearly $3 billion over budget.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP