MSE Seminar Series: Paul Paukstelis

Friday, September 26, 2014
1:00 p.m.
Room 2108, Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Bldg.
JoAnne Kagle
301 405 5240

3D DNA Crystals: Assembly and Application
Paul Paukstelis

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
University of Maryland, College Park

DNA has proved to be a successful material for creation of nanoscale structures because of its inherent programmability and predictable structural features. Though it has been used extensively to create discrete objects in two- and three-dimensions, the self-assembly of DNA into macroscopic periodic structures has proved much more difficult. Our laboratory is exploring how predictable non-Watson-Crick base pairs can be utilized as junctional motifs to generate crystals with 3D connectivity and useful nanoscale features. We have described several 3D DNA crystal structures -- mediated by non-canonical base pairs -- that contain solvent channels that run through the length of the crystal in multiple direction. These porous crystals allow incorporation of proteins, and we have recently demonstrated that an enzyme encapsulated in these channels retains its catalytic activity. We have also described a pH-responsive non-canonical junction motif that can be activated after crystal formation to initiate concerted changes in the crystal unit cell dimensions. We continue to discover new non-canonical DNA motifs in hopes of developing a structural library that will allow us to custom design crystals for uses as macromolecular scaffolds or environmentally responsive biomaterials.

About the Speaker
Paul Paukstelis received his B.S. in Genetics from the University of Kansas in 1997. He performed his graduate work studying the structural basis of protein-dependent group I intron splicing with Alan Lambowitz at the University of Texas at Austin. Upon completion of his Ph.D in 2005 he continued on at UT-Austin as a research scientist and a fellow of the Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology to initiate independent research on the rational design and assembly of 3-D DNA crystals. He joined the faculty at University of Maryland Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry in 2010.

Audience: Campus 

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