BioPACIFIC MIP Research: SET 1 - Bioderived Materials
What is your research focus?
Our research goal, in broad, is to engineer bacteriophages and build them as antimicrobial platforms through chemical conjugation of antimicrobial agents. It aligns with the mission of BioPACIFIC MIP in the way that the bacteriophages themselves are great biomaterials that have distinguished properties such as high stability under various physical and chemical conditions and can be easily chemically modified. They are composed by repetition of capsid proteins that can be assembled in bacteria cells and can be accessibly tuned through editing of bacteriophage genes to adjust functions and properties to achieve properties required by applications. As a continuation of our study in collaboration with BioPACIFIC MIP, we have successfully created 2 libraries of chimeric M13 phages that shown to be able to bind to a wide range of gram-negative bacteria. We are using the living biofoundry to characterize the binding of selected phage to target pathogens in a high throughput manner. In our next step, we aim to conjugate enzymes that are able to breakdown biofilm formed by the pathogens to surface of the selected bacteriophage so that the phage can serve as a drug delivery vehicle to specifically delivery these enzymes to proximity of the bacteria colonies and reach a high local concentration of these enzymes to breakdown or prevent the formation of biofilm. We also aim to use the micro rheometer or the multi indenter to characterize the change in biofilm viscosity in a high throughput fashion.
What excites you about NSF BioPACIFIC MIP?
As a third-year graduate student, the fellowship has introduced me to researchers whose experience could inspire my own work or form potentially collaborations. From the all-hands meetings between UCLA and UCSB, we get to understand others work better and I often get inspired or get to know the existence of new tools that could help in my own research. Another aspect I really appreciate is the instrumental resources at UCLA and UCSB CNSI that become available to us through BioPACIFIC MIP. For example, though on a short pause for now, we will be using the Living Biofoundry at UCLA CNSI to characterize for antimicrobial candidates in high-throughput fashion through automation. We are also interested in the instruments that are able to help us characterize physical property of biofilms in a high throughput manner. As for professional development, I’m also interested in exploring future careers. Therefore, the networking opportunities as well as educational programs such as the summer school would be greatly beneficial. I’m really interested in the individual development plan and looking forward to continue working with people at BioPACIFIC MIP.