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September 2019

CBE Seminar: “Embryogenesis: A Cascade of Dynamical Systems”

September 4 at 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Wu and Chen Auditorium (Room 101), Levine Hall, 3330 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104 United States
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Abstract: We aim to establish and experimentally test mathematical models of embryogenesis. While the foundation of this research is based on models of isolated developmental events, the ultimate challenge is to formulate and understand dynamical systems encompassing multiple stages of development and multiple levels of regulation. These range from specific chemical reactions in single cells to coordinated dynamics of multiple cells during morphogenesis. Examples of our dynamical systems models of embryogenesis – from the events in the Drosophila egg to…

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CBE Seminar: “Complexity in the Chemistry and Physics of Lipid Membranes as a Handle to Activate the Delivery of Cargo to Cells”

September 11 at 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Wu and Chen Auditorium (Room 101), Levine Hall, 3330 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104 United States
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Abstract: Lipid materials having nanostructures that deviate from the conventional flat bilayer arrangement such as hexagonally packed lipid tubes and bi-continuous cubic phases are ubiquitous in nature. Their role remains elusive but over the years several pathologies and organelle functions have been coupled to lipid membrane structural complexity. In this talk, we will discuss lipid membrane polymorphism and how it can be exploited to generate a new class of materials for the delivery of cargo to cells. We combine a number of techniques including…

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CBE Seminar: “Evolution of the Conformational-free Energy Landscapes of Proteins”

September 18 at 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Wu and Chen Auditorium (Room 101), Levine Hall, 3330 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104 United States
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Abstract: One of the holy grails of drug-design is to obtain high-selectivity binding of a drug to the target protein, an extremely challenging endeavor for proteins that share high sequence and structural similarity. We investigate several systems of high biological importance to elucidate how selectivity emerged during evolution and how it can inform the design of selective drugs. In particular, we investigate three protein families, i.e. human protein kinases, receptors for plant hormone, and strigolactone and SWEET transporters. These proteins…

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CBE Seminar: “Protein-integrated Electronics: From Molecules to Machines”

September 25 at 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Wu and Chen Auditorium (Room 101), Levine Hall, 3330 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104 United States
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Abstract: We are developing chemo-mechatronic systems, structures, and machines that can transduce signals between the chemical, mechanical, and electrical domains to produce intelligent behaviors in response to an external stimuli. Inspired by systems spanning from how tissues build themselves to how animals camouflage, I will discuss our molecular-level approach to building new materials that can produce tailorable and reversible transformations in response to specific chemical inputs for applications ranging from bio-photonic devices to implantable electronics.

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October 2019

CBE Seminar: “Thermodynamics of Sequence-defined Polyelectrolyte Complexes”

October 2 at 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Wu and Chen Auditorium (Room 101), Levine Hall, 3330 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104 United States
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Abstract: Charged polymers known as polyelectrolytes have been studied for decades, however, understanding their physical properties remains a persistent challenge for polymer scientists. This difficulty stems from the intricate interplay between length scales spanning as much as 3-4 orders of magnitude, which has stymied our understanding of a truly important class of polymers; polyelectrolytes are widely used in applications ranging from food additives to paints, and most biopolymers (proteins, DNA, polysaccharides) are also polyelectrolytes. However, the complexity of charged polymers…

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CBE Seminar: “Examining Heterogeneous Populations of Microbes at the Single Cell Level Using Stabilized Emulsions”

October 16 at 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Wu and Chen Auditorium (Room 101), Levine Hall, 3330 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104 United States
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Abstract: Conventional methods in microbiology can be limited by long assay execution and analysis times, large reagent volumes, and high single-use supply costs. These limitations can be overcome using drop-based microfluidics in which picoliter-sized, water-in-oil emulsions serve as independent microreactors, allowing for the compartmentalization of microbes and high-throughput assaying at the single cell level. Here, drop-based microfluidics is used to interrogate the physiological heterogeneity of P. aeruginosa cells in a microbial population using a technique we name DropSOAC (Drop Stabilization…

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CBE Seminar: “Toward Platinum-free Fuel Cells for Affordable Zero-emission Vehicles”

October 23 at 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Wu and Chen Auditorium (Room 101), Levine Hall, 3330 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104 United States
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Abstract: One of the grand challenges facing humanity today is the development of an alternative energy system that is safe, clean, and sustainable. A Distributed Renewable Electrochemical Energy and Mobility System (DREEMS) can meet this challenge. At the foundation of this new energy system, we have chosen to study fuel cells, electrolyzers, and flow batteries. For all these devices polymer electrolytes play a critical role in controlling their performance, cost, and durability, and thus their economic viability. In this presentation,…

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CBE Seminar: “Chemical Reactor Scale-Up: Principles and Practice at Dow”

October 30 at 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Wu and Chen Auditorium (Room 101), Levine Hall, 3330 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104 United States
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Abstract: Since Dow first formed a global reaction engineering discipline over twenty years ago, we have accumulated much experience leading and supporting a diversity of reaction engineering projects for our corporation. This presentation will provide specific examples of real-world reaction engineering problems at Dow in the past 27 years and summarize our perspective regarding the key tools and methods of the well-equipped industrial reaction engineering laboratory. Several brief anecdotal descriptions of past process development and reactor scale-up projects will highlight…

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November 2019

CBE Seminar: “Tailoring Processes and Assembly of Nanomaterials for Electrochemical Energy Storage”

November 6 at 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Wu and Chen Auditorium (Room 101), Levine Hall, 3330 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104 United States
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Abstract: Despite their promise to mitigate many problems and offer new opportunities in energy storage systems, nanomaterials have proven to be difficult to tailor and preserve their assembly throughout manufacturing processes when a scale-up is considered. My group has been working on understanding and modification of instability-driven processes to devise scalable manufacturing processes such as gas-assisted electrospinning and air-controlled electrospray, which can also provide the tailored assembly of nanomaterials. I will show several examples of using these processes to assemble…

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CBE Seminar: “Soft, Wet, and Sticky: Viscous Forces and Elasticity in Wet Adhesion”

November 20 at 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Wu and Chen Auditorium (Room 101), Levine Hall, 3330 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104 United States
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Abstract: Understanding and harnessing the coupling between lubrication pressure, elasticity, and surface interactions provides materials design strategies for applications such as adhesives, coatings, microsensors, and biomaterials. This presentation will discuss our efforts to understand how soft materials make contact and adhere under dynamic conditions in fluid environments. Measurements of interactions between soft surfaces will show how elastic films deform due to viscous forces and influence adhesion. In particular, we will discuss conditions under which elasticity favors both dynamic and static adhesion…

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