Posted: Monday, October 7, 2013
Fall 2013 Chemistry-Physics Seminar
Marc Knecht, associate professor of chemistry at the University of Miami, will present his research talk "Exploiting the Bio/Inorganic Interface to Control the Activity of Nanomaterials" at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, October 10, in Science Building 272. An abstract of his talk appears below.
Before his presentation, from 11:00 to 11:45 a.m., Knecht will converse with undergraduate and graduate students at Buffalo State regarding his experiences of scientist as a career. This private conversation will be held in Science and Math Complex 201. This seminar is sponsored by the Auxiliary Services Grant Allocation Committee, the Vice President for Student Affairs Office, and the Faculty-Student Association.
Bio-inspired approaches represent emerging methods to fabricate inorganic materials with vast applications ranging from energy storage to catalysis. For many of these materials, phage display-isolated peptides are used to nucleate and grow the structures where peptides bind and passivate the nanomaterial surface. Based on these highly specific interactions, a unique biotic/abiotic interface is generated, which contributes to the activity of the final structure. Unfortunately, minimal information is currently available about this structural detail due to the lack of analytical methods that can accurately probe this level. To overcome this, we have begun to apply chemical approaches to observe changes in the activity of biomimetic nanostructures through modifications of the amino acid sequence of materials directing peptides. Using the Pd-specific Pd4 peptide, highly reactive Pd nanoparticles are prepared that catalyze the Stille coupling reaction under atypical conditions; employing these materials, C-C bonds can be generated in water at room temperature with ultra-low catalyst loadings for a process that is energy efficient and eco-friendly. To elucidate surface peptide effects, rationally designed sequences were prepared to site selectively alter the binding capabilities of the peptide, which was used to chemically demonstrate the effects of the biotic/abiotic interface on the reactivity of the materials. Additional studies have focused on the use of Au-binding peptides, as well as unique biomimetic templates that drive the production of linear structures. Together, such results represent the initial steps toward the generation of criteria for the rational design of peptides that could be used to control the size, shape, composition, and activity of nanomaterials.