In addition to their previous method, the team took the added step of covalently attaching the Mms6 to a strand of functionalized polymer known to self-assemble and form thermoreversible gels. Because the polymer strands come together in a particular way, the attached proteins had a specific alignment that the researchers hoped would serve as a template for the formation of cobalt-ferrite crystals. And the way in which the gel formed would help control the speed of the reaction.
It worked rather well, Tanya Prozorov said, and we ended up with very nice hexagonal cobalt ferrite crystals and added that she is studying whether the protein will also work for the other neodymium, gadolinium, and holmium ferrites.
The project is funded by the Department of Energys Office of Basic Energy Sciences, the National Science Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The research has generated fodder for a number of journal articles, including published works in ACSNano, Physical Review B, and Advanced Functional Materials.
This is an exciting interdisciplinary project addressing some of Basic Energy Sciences Grand Challenges by bringing together materials scientists, chemists, physicists and biologists to develop new bioinspired materials of relevance to DOE's mission, said Mallapragada. Ames Laboratory is a wonderful environment in which to foster and grow these sorts of interdisciplinary initiatives because teamwork is really built into the culture here."
|Contact: Kerry Gibson|