Chemical Engineering Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Electrophysiological Measurements of Ion Channels Incorporated in Planar Bilayers

MentorJoel R. Fried
Research Lab/LocationBiomimetic Membranes and Structures, Ernst Hall 207
Description of ResearchIn the human body, proteins act to transport various molecules across the cell membrane. Specifically, our group is interested in proteins which transport ions across cell membranes. The activity of single ion channels can be studied electrically using a technique called planar bilayer lipid membrane (BLM). The focus of our group is measuring the activity of ion channels incorporated into biomimetic polymer membranes. The polymers contain a hydrophilic block of poly(2-methyl-2oxazoline) and hydrophobic block of poly(dimethylsiloxane). The amphiphilic nature of the polymers allows for them to form bilayer membranes in aqueous solution as seen with lipids. In addition, some of our collaborators have produced synthetic molecules which act as ion channels when incorporated into membranes. The focus of the project would be to study the activity of these synthetic ion channels. 

Electrophysiological Measuerments of Ion Channels
  • Martin M, Dubbs T, Fried JR. Planar Bilayer Measurements of Alamethicin and Gramicidin Reconstituted in Biomimetic Block Copolymers. Langmuir. 2017;33(5):1171-9.
  • Kowal J, Zhang X, Dinu IA, Palivan CG, Meier W. Planar Biomimetic Membranes Based on Amphiphilic Block Copolymers. ACS Macro Letters. 2014;3(1):59-63.
  • Wong D, Jeon T-J, Schmidt J. Single molecule measurements of channel proteins incorporated into biomimetic polymer membranes. Nanotechnology. 2006;17(15):3710-7.
  • Gokel GW, Carasel IA. Biologically active, synthetic ion transporters. Chemical Society reviews. 2007;36(2):378-89.
Minimum Student Qualifications
  • Completed Organic Chemistry Lab or equivalent
  • Preferred but not required: Polymer Physics, Biology or Bio-Chemistry, Electro-Physics or Circuits
Pay StatusUnpaid
Timeline & Hours per Week6 to 10 hours per week
Deadline of ProjectNo scheduled deadline
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