The International Institute for Nanotechnology (IIN) at Northwestern University seeks to establish a Center of Excellence for Advanced Bioprogrammable Nanomaterials (C-ABN), in conjunction with the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). Pursuant to AFOSR and AFRL goals, the Center will perform discovery-based, exploratory research as well as facilitate the establishment and transitioning of new technologies based on this work from the laboratory to the marketplace to meet both military and civilian needs. Specifically, the C-ABN program will address major opportunities and challenges in the development and manufacturing of advanced bioprogrammable nanomaterials. It will bring together an outstanding interdisciplinary team of academic researchers who, with their industrial and governmental partners, will collectively focus on developing high performance, functional materials from novel nanoscale building blocks utilizing the inherent chemical and biological recognition abilities of biomolecules. Such materials will have structures never before seen in nature and serve as the basis for new structural, electronic, and optical components for aircraft, spacecraft, missiles, rockets, and ground-based systems, CBRNE sensors, encryption systems, detoxification systems, energy and hydrogen storage devices, and devices geared toward enhancing human capabilities in warfighting situations, among others, of interest to AFOSR and AFRL. The study of these structures will also augment fundamental knowledge in materials science and engineering, chemistry, biology, and physics. The C-ABN will provide opportunities for students to spend time working with researchers at AFRL laboratories and for AFRL researchers to do sabbaticals or short research stints at Northwestern. Northwestern has outstanding facilities, which will enhance the capabilities of AFRL and Center projects. Section C - Technical Summary C-ABN research (8-12 projects per year) will focus on four broad areas: (1) molecular and nanostructure systems for manipulation of cellular processes; (2) patterned surfaces for modulating cellular events and self-assembly; (3) diagnostics for increasing sensitive monitoring of biological systems; and (4) bio-inspired nanostructured materials for energy generation, conversion, and storage. Example projects are described below. 1. Molecular and Nanostructure Systems for Manipulating Cellular Processes a. Nanoparticle-Cell Interactions and Intracellular Nanoparticle Transport This project will focus on determining how nanoparticles interact with specific organelles at the nanoscale in order to determine how (1) selective biochemical pathways can be enhanced or shutdown; (2) cellular responses at the single-cell level can be manipulated or reprogrammed; and (3) localized concentrations of bioregulatory molecules affect localized intracellular environments. b. Single Agent Gene-Regulation Agents for Accelerated Wound Healing In this project, researchers will engineer gene-suppressing spherical nucleic acids (SNAs) capable of penetrating human skin and knocking down genes (ganglioside GM3) that hinder wound healing. c. Nanoparticle-Oligonucleotide Conjugates as Therapeutic Agents for Traumatic Brain Injury In this project, researchers will focus on the development of nanoparticle-oligonucleotide conjugates capable of delivering therapeutic oligonucleotides to the brain that regulate the expression of genes implicated in the biology of the secondary injuries of traumatic brain injury (TBI).
|Effective start/end date||6/8/15 → 6/7/21|
- Air Force Research Laboratory (FA8650-15-2-5518)
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