Kai-Chieh (Amy) Yang
- Advisor: Rachel Segalman
- Department: Chemical Engineering
- Campus: UCSB
- BioPACIFIC MIP Research: SET 2 - Sequence-Defined Materials
What is your research focus?
Chirality is widespread in nature as a fundamental to the process of life science. In fact, chirality underpin molecule interactions which thus driven the formation of homohanded superstructures with unique properties. For biomimicry, synthetic polymers were designed with the expectation of homochiral evolution from molecular level to hierarchical superstructures; however, unexpected handedness inversion or cancellation sometimes occurs. The understanding of the dependence between molecular configuration, chain conformation and self-assembly is essential for chirality manipulation, which will be a promising approach for the optimization of material properties in near future. Here, we propose to design and synthesize a series of dual N/Cα-substitution polypeptoids with controlled sequence of backbone chiral centers for the study of chiral evolution in different length scales. We expect that the rotational strength driven by chirality transfer from the backbone can give homogeneous helical chain shape to various extent, impacting not only optical selectivity but also chain stiffness and persistence, which can further affect the assembly. In this study, the materials will be sequence specific synthesized on automated robotic synthesizer, purified by preparative HPLC or preparative GPC and further analyzed by MALDI-TOF. The single chain conformation can then be characterized by circular dichroism (CD) and small angle neutron scattering (SANS). In addition, we are expecting that the multi-scale structuring after self-assembly can be revealed by cryo-TEM and microED with modeling. This project fit well with BioPACIFIC MIP SET 2 and will provide a data-driven simulation and experimental techniques to discover new bio-inspired chiral materials for next generation.
What excites you about NSF BioPACIFIC MIP?
My PhD study on synthetic chiral block copolymer self-assembly sparked my interest in chirality effect and chirality transfer in biomaterials. I am still looking into chiral manipulation for optical properties based on fundamental studies. From my perspective, sequence controlled materials and discrete polymers might be the key for control over chain shape and thus geometry of nanostructures. I have learned and build up a synthetic route for chiral polypeptoids last year and now is the time for scaling-up and detail characterization. I have had a variety of experiences on the analysis of nanostructures through transmission electron microscope (TEM), scanning electron microscope (SEM) and small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS). With all the technique that I have learned, I am looking forward to catching up on cryoEM and the analysis and modeling in atomic level. Becoming a BioPACIFIC MIP Fellow will provide me an exact platform for my study. In addition, participating in collaboration and networking and communicating with industry and academic professionals will help me build up my career plan. I can foresee a long term impact on me and my science for being a BioPACIFIC MIP Fellow.