NanoEngineered Self-Assembling Vesicle Production Line (NESAV)
- ProfessorCaglar Elbuken
Cell-mimicking compartmentalized structures are extremely important to advance our knowledge of cell functionalities using a bottomup approach. These structures help us to study complex biological problems in simplified environments. The overarching aim is to build cell-like compartmentalized structures to mimic the functionality of inter and intracellular operations. Current techniques fall short in achieving formation of stable compartments that can withstand the in-vivo-like stress conditions or to form 3D structures required for advanced functionalities. In this project, we aim to develop a microfabricated system for engineering of individual vesicles. The relationship between individual membrane forming unit will be correlated to the stability of the vesicle. Both lipid and polymer vesicles will be studied. Hence, a long-lasting question in the field will be addressed: the relationship between the individual vesicle forming unit molecular structure and the stability of vesicles of varying sizes. Another ambitious aim of the project is to produce individual vesicles with specific properties so that they will form self-assembling 3D structures. This will significantly advance the future applications of artificial vesicles and will be an alternative to tissue engineering and micro/nanorobots aiming for biomedical applications. To achieve these objectives a microfabricated device will be developed with capabilities to generate, modify and inspect individual vesicles in an automated manner as in production lines. The self-assembling ability of vesicles will be demonstrated with three example structures: 1) Self-assembling ordered structure formation using different types of vesicles. 2) The self-encapsulation of a 3D structure by the vesicles and controlled release of their cargo. This approach is one of the shortest paths for the application of artificial vesicles for in-vivo targeted drug release applications. 3) Building of bridging 3D structures with a series of chemically connected vesicles through integrated membrane proteins. The project aims to understand and control vesicle self-assembly that will open a new avenue for cell-like vesicles. Further development of the technology envisions self-assembling vesicles forming a unique 3D shape (as in 3D jigsaw puzzles) which would yield predefined specific 3D structures from vesicles.