Multiscale mechanics: folded globular proteins as hydrogel Lego bricks

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Physics and Astronomy


Mechanical properties are an essential property of biological scaffolds, where cell behaviour can be controlled by designing material scaffolds that incorporate specific structural and mechanical cues.

Proteins are semi-flexible polymer and biopolymer networks formed by semi-flexible polymers have emerged as a new class of biological soft matter systems with remarkable material properties, motivating many theoretical developments. Such theories include the mechanics and dynamics of individual semiflexible polymers, bundles and entangled solutions and non-affine approaches for disordered polymer networks.

The PGR will join a multidisciplinary team to understand the physics of the building block (the folded protein) and its connectivity (the protein network). This will be achieved through a cross length scale, physics based approach which will translate knowledge of the nanoscale biophysics of folded proteins to the mesoscale architecture and function of novel folded protein hydrogels. Experimental techniques will include rheology, scattering, microbubbles and ultrasound.


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