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Colloquium Series: Engineering viral biotemplates for nanomaterial synthesis (Kevin Solomon, University of Delaware)
April 27 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Join us on Zoom for our Colloquium Series. This week Kevin Solomon, PhD, from the University of Delaware will be joining us to present “Engineering viral biotemplates for nanomaterial synthesis.”
Abstract. Biotemplating of nanomaterials is a powerful method for the synthesis of metallic nanostructures with applications in energy storage, catalysis, and sensing. Biotemplates derived from viruses, in particular, are attractive due to their hierarchical self-assembly into tunable monodisperse morphologies encoded within their structure. Amino acid side chains presented on the surface readily reduce metallic ions such as Pd and Pt and serve as nucleation sites for nanoparticle deposition and coating. The chemical functionality of these side chains may be reprogrammed via genetic engineering to increase interactions with different metals to diversify subsequent device applications. Similarly, engineering of a nucleic acid molecular ruler and key amino acid residues serve to alter biotemplate morphology and aspect ratio. Work within my lab focuses on barley stripe mosaic virus (BSMV) whose surfaces exhibit additional electrostatic interactions for the rapid deposition of Pd and Pt nanoparticles. In my talk, I will highlight our efforts enabling rapid bacterial production of BSMV viral like particles (VLPs) for the first time, our progress towards tuning of VLP architecture for diverse applications, and the impact of these modifications on nanomaterial synthesis.
Biography. Dr. Kevin Solomon is an Assistant Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering from McMaster University (Canada), an MS in Chemical Engineering Practice from MIT, and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from MIT. His work focuses on identifying and developing non-model microbes, microbiomes and viruses from the environment via systems biology and synthetic biology approaches that are well-adapted for applications in sustainability, materials, and health. He has received several academic, teaching, and service awards including the US Department of Energy Early Career Award in 2019, and an Outstanding Faculty Award from Purdue Residences in 2018. He has provided expert testimony before the 116th US House of Representatives on the convergence of engineering and biology and has coauthored technology roadmaps for engineering biology. He has also been featured in Forbes magazine. Dr. Solomon’s work is supported by the NSF, DOE, private trusts and industry.
The Solomon Lab develops cellular technologies that accelerate the sustainable production of fuels, medicines, materials, and other value added chemicals. Our laboratory is interested in identifying and developing microbes from environmental communities well adapted for the deconstruction and upcycling of complex polymeric materials. In so doing, we develop sustainable routes to a variety of materials and chemicals. We employ systems level -omics approaches to identify key players in these complex communities that we then isolate and reprogram with synthetic biology for various applications. We are also interested in applying these systems biology approaches broadly to diverse cellular systems to tackle engineering applications.