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Mark Banaszak Holl

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Primary Appointment: LSA Chemistry
Primary PIBS Dept.: Biophysics
Lab Website

  A remarkable convergence is occurring between two previously disparate fields, biology and materials science. Great strides have been made during the past 50 years in understanding many biological macromolecules including proteins, DNA, RNA, and viruses that have dimensions on the nanoscale. Simultaneously, the materials science community has developed the ability to synthesize and characterize similarly sized nanoparticles from a wide array of substances including organic and inorganic polymers, semiconductors, ceramics, and metals. We now find ourselves at an interesting juncture. Both the biological and materials science communities need to understand how these nanoscale materials, whether synthetic or natural in origin, interact with biological membranes. This understanding is critically important for ongoing efforts ranging from designing drug delivery to understanding viral infections, from membrane protein function to the toxicity of the wide variety of new synthesized particles being created in laboratories and companies everyday. We must understand both the intended and unintended consequences of our new creations and the interactions they have with nature’s nanoparticles.

Specific projects include the use of PAMAM dendrimers for the development of targeted chemotherapeutics and the mechanism of transfection of polycationic polymer/DNA polyplexes.