Soft Matter and Bioinspired Materials
Nature creates materials through self-assembly processes, i.e. by spontaneous organization of molecules into well defined, but often dynamic structures. Biological assemblies such as lipid membranes and proteins, therefore share properties with synthetic materials denoted “soft matter”, i.e. they are fluctuating, susceptible to external fields and follow the same physics as synthetic analogs such as surfactants, polymers and colloids.
The Bio3 – Soft Matter research team is focused on exploring the fundamental mechanisms and processes related to self-assembly in synthetic and biomolecular systems. The research is mainly focused on elucidating the molecular interactions to understand the basic structure and dynamic properties of assemblies such as micelles, peptide nanostructures and lipid membranes. We formulate stable model biomembranes to decipher the activity of surface active biomolecules such as antimicrobial peptides and drug-molecules. Using a combination of material design and experimental techniques, in particular scattering methods based on X-rays, neutrons and light, as well as other methods such as spectroscopy, rheology, calorimetry, the group seeks fundamental insight to develop new materials for biomedical applications. Using a combination of experimental design and theoretical modelling the group elucidates the molecular mechanisms for self-assembly and membrane interactions with, ultimately, the aim of achieving more predictive and suitable design of new functional materials and treatments.