These kinds of nanofibers are endowed with remarkable physical strength and rigidity making them an interesting scaffold for functional materials. Structurally, they consist of repeating units of self-assembled proteins that are held together through hydrogen bonding.
To construct functionalized nanofibers, we initially design protein fusion variants of the fibrillating entity and a functional domain on a genetic level. These proteins are then purified and evaluated with respect to their function and fiber forming abilities. By controlling the self-assembling dynamics, we are able to efficiently conduct co-aggregation, i.e. simultaneous fibrillation of the functionalized and un-functionalized variants. The beauty of this approach is that nanofibers can be specifically engineered and can thus be adapted to serve a wide variety of purposes.
Image of functionalized fibrils obtained through transmission electron microscopy (TEM)
PhD candidate in Molecular Biotechnology since Dec. 2013, under the supervision of Prof. Torleif Härd.
M.Sc. in Biochemistry (2013) from Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
B.Sc. in Chemistry (2011) from Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden