Dr. Qian Wang is a Carolina Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of South Carolina. He is a MADE in SC Thrust 3 (Rational Design of Interactive Biometrials) Co-leader. The overall objective of Dr. Wang's Research Team focuses on the development of hierarchically structured nanomaterials to study cell-cell interactions and the cooperative response of cells to extracellular matrixes. He is also interested in bionanomaterials, particularly with the respect of polymers and biomolecules, such as proteins, viruses, and bacteriophages.
Dr. Wang and his research team have developed functional polymeric micelles for immobilizing His6-tagged cellulases with controlled spatial orientation of enzymes, resulting in “artificial cellulosomes” for effective cellulose hydrolysis. Poly(styrene)-b-poly(styrene-alt-maleic anhydride) was prepared through one-pot reversible addition–fragmentation chain-transfer polymerization and modified with nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA) to afford an amphiphilic block copolymer. The self-assembled polymer could successfully capture His6-tagged cellulases and form hierarchically structured core–shell nanoparticles with cellulases as the corona. Because the anchored enzymes are site-specifically oriented and in close proximity, synergistic catalysis that results in over twofold activity enhancement has been achieved.
The significance of this work is that similar systems can be used in the synthesis of functional protein based materials. He plans to investigate how the assembled system can interact with cells and modulate the cellular responses. The next step in this research is to develop a novel method to produce polymer-protein core-shell nanoparticles (NPs) with narrow size-distribution using a electrokinetics (EK) based ultra-fast micromixer microfluidic system. The end goal is to control the size distribution of the resultant assemblies.
For details about the research program, Read more...