student profile: Mr Lewis Martin


Thesis work

Thesis title: Harnessing the bio-activity of protein fragments and peptides

Supervisors: Serdar KUYUCAK , Marcela BILEK

Thesis abstract:

Researchers from the Applied and Plasma Physics group at the Sydney University of Sydney have developed a plasma-based treatment to covalently immobilize protein ligands [1], essential for the function of human connective tissue, on to polymer surfaces to be used in biomedical applications such as implants or 3D cell-culturing devices. Since the covalent immobilisation is through the unpaired electrons of radicals embedded in the plasma treated surface, solution parameters, such as pH and ionic strength, can be used to influence the orientation and conformation of the ligands. This project develops strategies for ligand design and manipulation of solution parameters through computer simulations of peptides both in solution and interacting with polymer surfaces. Prediction of peptide-surface interaction requires a new model to be developed. The simulations allow for novel peptide variants to be probed in molecular detail, and this informs cell biology experiments performed at the Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney. The combined insight from these approaches is a powerful demonstration of an interdisciplinary approach with clinical potential. 
[1] Bilek MM et al., PNAS, 2011, 108(35):14405-14410

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