MSE Seminar: Using Tension and Curvature to Manipulate Patterning in Phospholipid Lamellae

Friday, November 13, 2020
1:00 p.m.
via Zoom
Sherri Tatum

Speaker: Maria Santore, Department of Polymer Science and Engineering, UMass Amherst


Phospholipid bilayers are the basis for cell membranes, but they also represent a fascinating material with unique properties.  In particular, these lamella constitute nanometrically-thin cohesive fluids that can be free standing in the form of vesicles or supported on solids.  Phospholipid bilayers can also undergo phase transitions, accommodate protein-based and other inclusions, and form fascinating patterns.  This talk explores how curvature and tension can be manipulated to control pattern formation of phase separated solid domains in otherwise fluid phospholipid lamellae.  We show how tension impacts solid domain growth and domain shape during nucleation and growth from the one phase region. Besides this influence on individual domains, tension and curvature additional determine interactions between solid domains within the fluid membrane, reversibly dictating their separations and arrangements on length scales of microns and tens of microns.  The resulting arrangements include arrays with rotational and translational order, and long range alignment of many domains into strings, chevrons, and networks. While relevant to protein segregation in biomembranes, these behaviors further form the basis for dynamically patterned contoured materials.


Maria Santore is a professor of polymer science and engineering, with a secondary appointment in chemical engineering, at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Santore was trained formally as a chemical engineer, obtaining her B.S. at Carnegie Mellon and Ph.D. at Princeton. Following her Ph.D., Santore’s postdoctoral studies of polymer glasses and blends in the Polymer Division at NIST in Gaithersburg MD were supported by an NRC Postdoctoral Fellowship. She joined the Dept. of Chemical Engineering at Lehigh University as the Dana Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering and was promoted to associate professor in subsequent years. Santore was awarded the Alfred Nobel Robinson Award for outstanding research in 1996 and was named the Class of 1961 Chaired Associate Professor while at Lehigh. Following a sabbatical at the Institute for Medicine and Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, she joined the University of Massachusetts Department of Polymer Science and Engineering as a Full Professor.

For 13 years, Santore is served as a senior editor of Langmuir, the ACS (American Chemical Society) Journal of Surfaces and Colloids, and currently serves as a section editor for the Elsevier Journal Current Opinion in Colloid and Interface Science.  She is a Fellow in the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Chemical Society.  She was awarded the 2015 Hopper Lectureship in Engineering by the University of Pennsylvania. In 2018 she was the UMass Distinguished faculty lecturer and was awarded the UMass Chancellor’s Medal. 

Santore’s research focuses on the translation of biological behaviors to synthetic materials, focusing on the role of interfaces.  She has developed new materials specifically for the manipulation of particles and cells, holding 5 patents in this area.  Her recent interests include synthetic materials that control the dynamic aspects of bioadhesion and cell response, cell manipulation especially the capture, killing, and release of cells, and mechanical and chemical communications between cells and materials.  In creating these novel functional materials, Santore often attends to the details of how nanoparticles, polymers, dendrimers and proteins are arranged at interfaces to achieve synergistic behaviors that would not occur in solutions.

Audience: Campus 

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