BBML

Biological and Biomimetic Materials Laboratory

Our Research

The Biological and Biomimetic Materials Laboratory (BBML) is guided by Prof. Ali Miserez. We study natural multifunctional materials that feature unique (or combination of) properties not achieved in man-made materials. Nature processes complex, tailored, structural materials, in an aqueous environment under ambient temperature and pressure (or less) using natural compounds. These naturally selected, time-tested biomaterials are recognized as powerful model systems, and their energy-efficient synthesis confers the motivation for our research. Understanding the underlying “green chemistry” can potentially offer sustainable alternatives to engineer existing as well as new materials. We endeavor to mimic these key structural, biochemical, and physicochemical principles that are discovered in the model systems and envision to overcome scientific challenges in diverse fields.

Research Approach

We discover and explore employing biomimetic-thinking methodologically using a multidisciplinary approach. Critical technological and scientific breakthroughs in the past allow us to brainstorm and study biological structures in a refined way. We identify and characterize proteins in the natural materials; recreate their synthetic analogs applying design strategies to emulate functional mimicries. For this, we accumulate creative ideas and techniques, adopted from:

Biochemistry: Protein identification, isolation, sequencing, recombinant protein expression.

Biophysics: Spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, single-molecule force spectroscopy.

Material's characterization: Micro-nano structure, mechanical properties at various length scales, structure-process-property relationships.

Focus Areas

whelk egg to feature Bioelastomeric Membranes & Coiled-Coil Engineering

Bioelastomeric Membranes & Coiled-Coil Engineering

Bioelastomers in nature are fascinating materials because some of them own unique combinations of structural and physicochemical properties. In our lab, we explore the bioelastomers that derive their properties from coiled-coil proteins, such as the marine snail's egg capsules capable of effective dissipation of tidal energy.

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Mussels underwater to feature Mechanisms of Biofouling Adhesion & Anti-Adhesive Coating

Mechanisms of Biofouling Adhesion & Anti-Adhesive Coating

The projects focus to counter marine biofouling problems, which causes a significant economic and environmental impact. We understudy the adhesive proteins of marine foulers that drive the robust underwater adhesion. Efforts are also directed towards the development of methods to assess fouling and anti-adhesive coatings.

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Squid beak to feature Molecular Biomimetics of Non-Mineralized Hard Tissues

Molecular Biomimetics of Non-Mineralized Hard Tissues

Unlike hard tissues, nature also employs dense protein cross-linking, and/or formation of polysaccharide/protein complexes to impart strength and wear-resistance functionalities. Recognition of this novel paradigm offers for characterization, biomimetic synthesis of robust and biocompatible structural polymers with little or no mineral content.

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Mantis Shrimp to feature Biomineralized Structures with Graded/Modulated Properties

Biomineralized Structures with Graded/Modulated Properties

Projects explore biomineralized composites with unexpected inorganic materials that are assembled in a highly controlled manner exhibiting tailored functionalities. We also engage in developing in situ mechanical testing methods to reveal structure-properties relationships across multiple length scales.

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Coacervates with DOX fluorescence microscopy to feature Liquid Liquid Phase Separation

Liquid-Liquid Phase Separation

Liquid-liquid phase separation gives rise to fluidic droplets, which are found across multiple length scales of the biological media. By performing highly differentiated functions, these droplets act as dynamic “membraneless organelles” that allow the living system to rapidly assemble (and disassemble) molecular collectives and switch on –or turn off– new functionalities.

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Highlighted Papers

Squid suckerin microneedle arrays for tunable drug release, Journal of Materials Chemistry B, 2017.

Cross-linking Chemistry of Squid Beak, Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2010.

Team

With an interdisciplinary team and collaborations (local and international) we have access to comprehensive methods, specialized instruments, and skills for research advancement.

Prof. Ali Gilles Tchenguise Miserez

Principal Investigator

Dr. Eva Hiew Shu Hui

Senior Research Fellow & Safety Officer

Dr. Harini Mohanram

Senior Research Fellow

Dr. Sushanth

Senior Research Fellow

Dr. Kanagavel Deepankumar

Research Fellow

Dr. Bhargy Sharma

Research Fellow

Dr. Bhuvaneswari Kannaian

Research Fellow

Dr. Anastasia Shebanova

Research Fellow

Dr. Isaiah Chua

Research Fellow

Loke Jun Jie

Research Assistant & Safety Officer

Bui My Hanh

Research Assistant

Sunyoung Hur

Ph.D. Student

Kenrick Koh

Ph.D. Student

Sun Yue

Ph.D. Student

Soon Wei Long

Ph.D. Student

Jeffrey George

Ph.D. Student

Quentin Moana Perrin

Ph.D. Student

Congxi Huang

Ph.D. Student

News

13
Oct 20
barnacles
Publications

Mimicking mineralization and adhesion in barnacles

Our new paper on barnacle cement protein, “Disorder–Order Interplay of a Barnacle Cement Protein Triggered by Interactions with Calcium and Carbonate Ions: A Molecular Dynamics Study”, is published in the ACS journal “Chemistry of Materials”. In this work, Akshita Kumar has conducted Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations to unveil the molecular-level interactions between barnacle cement protein and calcium carbonate.

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6
Oct 20
mussels
Publications

Next-gen biocide-free, fouling resistant coatings

In our new publication, “Laboratory and Field Testing Assessment of Next Generation Biocide-Free, Fouling-Resistant Slippery Coatings”, published in the journal “ACS Applied Polymer Materials”, Snehasish Basu from BBML has conducted a comprehensive study to assess the performance of antifouling AST coatings both in the lab and in the field.

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15
July 20
barnacles
Publications

Barnacle cement protein induces corrosion

In our paper “Accelerated corrosion of marine-grade steel by a redox-active, cysteine-rich barnacle cement protein”, published in “npj Materials Degradation”, we have demonstrated that one of the main protein in the cement complex of barnacles (MrCP20) is redox-active and can directly oxidize iron. This mechanism, identified for the first time in a protein/metal interface, may be involved in protein-induced degradation of other metallic surfaces.

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Careers

We are always looking for outstanding researchers. Please contact Prof. Ali Miserez (ALI.MISEREZ@ntu.edu.sg), attach your CV and state your reason for applying. You may also apply via the links indicated

We are currently looking for research fellows/senior research fellows to work on an exciting interdisciplinary project in the area of protein-based biopolymers, with an overarching goal to produce eco-friendly and biodegradable biopolymers. See the links below for more details on the job scope and requirements.

Senior Research Fellow

Research Fellow

Contact

+6563168979




Centre for Biomimetic Sensor Science (CBSS), 50 Nanyang Drive, Research Techno Plaza (RTP), Level 6, X-Frontier Block, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore 637553.