Vishnu Baba Sundaresan, Associate Professor in the Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Department at The Ohio State University, will be speaking in 102 Rightmire Hall on July 19th at 12:30 PM.
Title: Controlling Biological Processes using Chemical Actuators
Abstract: Biological processes and electromechanical function in ionic polymers share ion transport as the fundamental processes for sensing, actuation and energy harvesting. Inspired by the similarity, Prof. Sundaresan’s lab has developed various constructs for integrating biology and with electronics using conducting polymers. The integration of biological function in synthetic materials leverages electronic and ionic properties and hence are referred to as electrionic materials and devices. Enzymatic processes in plant cell membranes are nature’s catalysts and have a broad repertoire to maintain life as we know it. This broad selection of functionality in enzymes require native conditions or environmental stimulus naturally available in its host environment and is often challenging to replicate in synthetic platforms. For example, temperature, pH and concentration of selected cations are important in a broad selection of enzymatic processes and synthetic platforms often fail to provide the required optimal conditions for extended periods of time. This becomes a significant limitation for engineering and commercialization of plant-based enzymatic processes in industrial processes. To address this limitation, Sundaresan and his team has developed what is called as a chemical actuator that provides spatiotemporally controlled concentration of a selected cation within a control volume and has demonstrated the regulation of enzymatic processes. A programmable chemical actuator is a three-electrode electrochemical cell that regulates and maintains the spatiotemporal concentration of ions in following a predetermined dataset. The electrochemical cell is constructed with a conducting polymer as the working electrode, Ag/AgCl as reference electrode and a platinum, gold or carbon paper as counter electrode. The construction of conducting polymer (areal charge density, porosity, thickness and dopant selection) electrode, design of the electrochemical cell, cross-sectional area, placement of electrodes, and surface area of counter electrode influences the performance of the programmable chemical actuator. This talk will present a detailed discussion of the chemical actuator and its application in controlled dephosphorylation of para-Nitrophenylphosphate (pNPP) by alkaline phosphatase. This will be followed by a summary of the ongoing work for in situ regeneration of ATP using the pH actuator. This talk will conclude with a summary of other potential applications for electrionic materials and efforts by other groups along similar lines to bring biological catalytic process to industrial processes.
There will be the Maanas Food Truck located outside of Rightmire Hall from 11am-2pm featuring Indian cuisine. Grab a bite to eat before joining us at the seminar!