Our group seeks to synthesise novel, precise, bio/mineral nanomaterial architectures for nanotechnological and biomedical applications. Inspired by nature, we are using functional biomolecules such as biomineralisation proteins and lipid membranes to create hybrid functional nanomaterials and arrays. The main interest is the formation of membrane surrounded magnetite nanoparticles. These are biomineralised in nature within magnetic bacteria and are termed magnetosomes. Currently we are working on a number of projects such as:
- using genetic engineering and transition metal solution chemistry to alter and enhance the magnetosome particles in vivo;
- using the magnetic bacterial Mms proteins to control the synthesis of enhanced and functional magnetite nanoparticles in vitro;
- performing these biomimetic formations on surfaces in organised and functional arrays;
- using these and lipid membranes to surround the particles and attach them to surfaces;
- Use physical and biological probes to analyse how these biomineralisation protein actually control this process so precisely.
The research is intrinsically multi-disciplinary, spanning: magnetic characterisation, chemical synthesis, nanotechnological engineering, proteomics, genetics, environmental, and micro-biology.