Protein Analogous Micelles: Versatile, Modular Nanoparticles

Friday, October 19, 2018 -
2:00pm to 3:00pm
The FUNG Auditorium
Matthew Tirrell

Benjamin W. Zweifach Memorial Lecture


Pritzker Director, Professor and Dean of the Faculty

Institute for Molecular Engineering

University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory



Protein Analogous Micelles: Versatile, Modular Nanoparticles


Peptides are functional modules of protein macromolecules that can be displayed apart from the whole protein to create biofunctional surfaces and interfaces, or can be re-assembled in new ways to create synthetic mimics of protein structures. Each of these routes is being employed to gain new insight into protein folding and to develop new, functional, bio-molecular materials. That is what we call protein analogous micelles. Examples of work from our laboratory in this area using peptide-lipid or peptide-polycation conjugate molecules (peptide amphiphiles) include: multi-bio-functional surfaces, DNA-binding peptide assemblies, synthetic vaccines, and protein analogous micelles for cancer and cardiovascular therapeutics. One specific example is the micelle we have developed that has a targeting peptide on the exterior of the corona and charged-complexed micro-RNA in the core. This is a theranostic nanoparticle that can home to pathological cardiovascular tissue and deliver a therapeutic molecular locally.


Matthew Tirrell is the founding Pritzker Director of the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago. Through March 2018, Tirrell simultaneously served as Deputy Laboratory Director for Science and Chief Research Officer at Argonne National Laboratory. Immediately prior to joining the University of Chicago in 2011, he was the Arnold and Barbara Silverman Professor and Chair of Bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley, with additional appointments in chemical engineering and materials science & engineering, and as a Faculty Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Professor Tirrell completed ten years as Dean of Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara on June 30, 2009. From 1977 to 1999, he was on the faculty of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Minnesota, where he served as department head from 1995 to 1999. Tirrell received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering at Northwestern University in 1973 and a Ph.D. in 1977 in Polymer Science from the University of Massachusetts. He has co-authored more than 350 papers and one book and has supervised over 80 Ph.D. students. Professor Tirrell is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the Indian National Academy of Engineering, and is a Fellow of: the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers, the AAAS, and the APS. Professor Tirrell has extensive consulting and scientific advisory board experience in both the materials science and biotech/biomedical sectors.