Supramolecular assembly

Pi-conjugated peptides

In nature, biomolecules such as proteins and DNA exhibit precise control over chemical sequence, giving rise to well-defined structure and function. On the other hand, synthetic organic molecules offer a near limitless chemical diversity at the cost of full sequence control. Hybrid materials contain both natural biological components and non-natural components, thereby combining the advantages of biomaterials and synthetic materials. We study the functional properties of hybrid bio-synthetic materials, with one example consisting of natural peptides linked to pi-conjugated organic molecules. These materials provide access to electronically active, biocompatible materials with defined supramolecular structures. We are exploring the vast chemical space to design and understand the properties of next-generation, self-assembling electronic materials.

Selected publications:

  • E. R. Jira, K. Shmilovich, T. S. Kale, A. Ferguson, J. D. Tovar, C. M. Schroeder, “Effect of Core Oligomer Length on the Phase Behavior and Assembly of pi-conjugated Peptides”, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 12, 20722 (2020).
  • L. Valverde, B. Li, C. M. Schroeder, W. Wilson, “In Situ Photophysical Characterization of pi-conjugated Oligopeptides Assembled via Continuous Flow Processing”, Langmuir, 35, 10947 (2019).
  • Y. Zhou, B. Li, S. Li, H. A. M. Ardoena, W. L. Wilson, J. D. Tovar, C. M. Schroeder, “Concentration-Driven Assembly and Sol-Gel Transition pi-Conjugated Oligopeptides”, ACS Central Science, 3, 986 (2017).
  • B. Li, L. R. Valverde, F. Zhang, Y. Zhou, S. Li, Y. Diao, W. L. Wilson, C. M. Schroeder, “Macroscopic Alignment and Assembly of pi-conjugated Oligopeptides using Colloidal Microchannels”, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 9, 41586 (2017).
  • A. B. Marciel, M. Tanyeri, B. D. Wall, J. D. Tovar, C. M. Schroeder*, W. L. Wilson*, “Fluidic-directed Assembly of Aligned Oligopeptides with pi-conjugated Cores, Advanced Materials, 25, 6398 (2013).

Supercharged supramolecular protein assembly

Fundamental life processes are maintained by complexes of biomolecules with wide-ranging functionalities arising from precise spatial arrangements. By mimicking nature, new biomaterials with unique function can be created through controlled supramolecular assembly of proteins or hybrid molecules. Hierarchical assembly can be controlled by several different types intermolecular interactions including electrostatics, pi-stacking, and hydrogen bonding. In the Schroeder lab, we are exploring the generality of protein supercharging as a mechanism for supramolecular assembly. In particular, we focus on understanding the intermolecular interactions and structures that arise from mixtures of proteins with different net charges and surface charge distributions. We work closely with computational biologists to develop a fundamental and predictive understanding of how surface charge distributions can be controlled to create specific assembled hierarchical structures.