Inspired by Cells
Biological cells perform a wide variety of complex tasks including sensing, communication, manufacturing, and movement. The cell membrane, which provides a physical boundary that separates the inside of the cell from the outside of the cell, plays a critical role in these processes. Inspired by the capabilities of this organelle, we reconstruct bilayer membranes in the laboratory and use them as (1) a material platform to build cell-like structures as well as (2) a model system to recreate and better understand cellular behaviors that involve the membrane.
The structures we build are based on bilayer membranes
which provide a platform to assemble amphiphiles, peptides, proteins, and polymers, and mimic the structure of biological membranes.
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By cracking open a cellular membrane, Northwestern University synthetic biologists have discovered a new way
Northwestern’s Center for Synthetic Biology (CSB) is one of the global hubs for innovation in its field.
This article features some of the innovative research that the center is doing.