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Peptide-based nanowires


Amyloid plaques are macroscopic abnormalities found in tissue of patients afflicted with a variety of diseases. For example, the build up of plaques in the brain is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. These plaques are actually made up of tiny fibers that are 10,000 times thinner than a human hair. Stephen Diegelmann has developed a new class of materials, based on amyloid-type plaques, which can be viewed as molecular nanowires. These nanowires can be designed in different shapes, sizes, and 3-dimensional organization. These materials are made from natural proteins, which give them unique biological properties and allow for a link between electronic and biological systems. Long term applications of these nanowires include using them for tissue engineering and in vivo imaging.

Address Goals

Stephen Diegelmann’s research harnesses the growing depth of understanding of amyloid plaques, originally motivated to understand disease states, as an opportunity to engineer new constructs as nanobio tools. This kind of approach, in which scientific understanding is exploited in new directions is key to discovery and innovation. By openly sharing his research ideas within his cohort, at IGERN retreats and in symposia, Stephen is helping to train other IGERT fellows to identify opportunities for innovation.