Cluster for Molecular Chemistry

Protein cages as nanoreactors for the synthesis of polymers and biohybrid materials

Andrés de la Escosura Navazo

My current research interest is the study of self-organizing organic molecules with interesting optical, electronic or magnetic properties. The supramolecular organization of these molecules represents a powerful tool in the bottom-up approach to functional devices. In this regard, our approach relies on the self-assembly properties of biomolecules and on the use of different biomolecular architectures as nanoreactors or nanotemplates for crystallizations and other reactions. Among the repertoire of biological scaffolds for nanochemistry, some viruses such as the cowpea chlorotic mottel virus (CCMV) and the protein cage ferritin have been previously used as a nanoreaction vessel for the reversibly gated entrapment of organic and inorganic compounds. Our main goal is therefore to employ the cavity of these biological structures to carry out organic, inorganic and polymerization reactions. This would pave the way towards the controlled synthesis of nano-sized materials with well defined structure and new properties.

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