The Kiick group is employing biologically inspired synthetic and self-assembly strategies to produce a variety of protein-based, peptide-based, and synthetic macromolecular architectures for biomaterials and drug delivery applications. In one area, protein engineering methods are used to synthesize precisely defined, protein-based polymers; these polymers are decorated with ligands such as saccharides and peptides, and then characterized for their ability to bind to specific biological targets, such as toxins and cell surface receptors. We are also applying genetically directed synthetic strategies toward the synthesis of novel biopolymers for light emitting applications. In a second project area, we exploit the natural affinity between specific polysaccharides and proteins as a method to produce hydrogel structures for drug delivery applications. We are tailoring the affinities between polysaccharides and proteins as a method to control the mechanical properties, erosion, and drug delivery rate of the self-assembled hydrogel networks.
Post-Doctoral Research Scientist
Graduate Students Nandita Bhagwat
Kristi L. Kiick