BioPACIFIC MIP Research: SET 2 - Sequence-Defined Materials
What is your research focus?
My primary research focus in the Segalman group is centered on using sequence-defined polypeptoids in marine anti-fouling coatings. However, I am also incredibly interested in studying the relationship between structure and morphology within the peptoids themselves. I plan on investigating this by creating sequences that self-assemble into sheets, helices, and other morphologies which can then be analyzed with techniques such as CryoEM. I am currently working on synthesizing 30-mer achiral peptoids that are known to form right-handed superhelices in solution. The materials will then be handed off to CryoEM and MicroED experts at UCLA to investigate the molecular origin of these features. Over time, we hope to shrink the length of the peptoid chains to isolate the cause of the supramolecular chirality that has been observed.
This research has incredibly close ties to the fundamental mission of SET 2, which seeks to use sequence-defined materials to better understand the connection between molecular composition and observed macroscopic function. With this collaboration through BioPACIFIC MIP, we hope to eventually be able to control macroscopic material properties by tuning molecular-scale building blocks of our materials.
What excites you about NSF BioPACIFIC MIP?
I believe that collaboration is by far the most effective way to progress science and answer many profound questions. Becoming a part of the BioPACIFIC MIP Fellows and Affiliates program would allow me to pair my (and my research group’s) experience in synthesizing sequence-defined peptoids with experts in characterization to answer questions that I am deeply interested in concerning relationships between sequence and morphology. I also hope to take advantage of BioPACIFIC MIP’s many networking and mentorship opportunities which will expose me to new people and broaden my skill set outside of just my specific field. Overall, I believe that BioPACIFIC MIP would provide me with an invaluable opportunity to collaborate across disciplines and universities in pursuit of the ultimate goal of understanding precisely how our changes to molecular structure affect macroscopic assembly.