Symposium on Self-Assembling Thin Film Materials at 214th American Chemical Society Meeting Las Vegas, Nevada
Many U.S. biotech firms are working to develop new medical diagnostics, pharmaceuticals and sensors based on DNA, genetically engineered proteins and other products of biotechnology, and scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technologyare supplying them with the essential information on the fundamental nature of these materials.
A symposium focusing on thin molecular films will be part of the 214th American Chemical Society National Meeting in Las Vegas, Nev., Sept. 7-11. Organized by NIST scientists, the symposium, "Self-Assembling Thin Film Materials," begins Sept. 8. Six NIST researchers will be presenting recent research results, including work on model DNA biosensors and biomimetic membrane systems.
DNA chips have the potential to revolutionize sequencing of DNA, diagnosis of genetic diseases, detection of pathogens in food and water, and forensics and personal identification to name but a few applications. The NIST DNA chip is made of one layer of single-stranded DNA molecules which self-assemble on gold, forming a well organized monolayer. The surface-tethered DNA can then bind complementary small fragments of single-stranded DNA from solution.
Such sensors could be used to analyze DNA present in a sample of blood or urine from a patient, or in water or food. In theory, sensors could be developed to check for many bacteria and viruses at the same time.
The development of such DNA chips benefits from accurate measurements of the fundamental properties of their building blocks. NIST researchers have been studying the characteristics of the thin film monolayers and their binding to complementary strands, in addition to other issues of monolayer and bilayer self-assembly mechanism and phenomena. The ACS Symposium on Self-Assembling Thin Film Materials will present results of NIST research as well as those representing universities, government laboratories and industry from around the world. Talks and poster presentations by NIST researchers will cover the following findings:
Understanding the structure and function of proteins is essential for using them in biosensing, bioremediation and bioprocessing. Many such proteins are naturally associated with the membranes of living cells. These proteins lose their structure and their activity if removed from the membrane. NIST researchers are studying novel cell membrane-like materials that will make the use of such proteins possible. These biomimetic membranes are lipid bilayers which contain some of the natural greasy molecules that are found in real membranes and some molecules that are not usually found in the body. These membranes stick tightly to metal surfaces, and this makes them rugged enough that they can provide a good home for membrane proteins even in industrial applications. NIST presentations in this area will cover the following:
The technical sessions in the symposium will include 65 papers presented over four days. The Wednesday poster session will include approximately 100 presentations. The purpose of the symposium is to examine the current state of the art in molecular self-assembly for the fabrication of technologically useful materials.
As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Technology Administration, NIST promotes economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards.