Self-Assembly

The Prentiss Research Group is focused on analyzing and modeling processes of self-assembly. We probe the biological uses of self-assembly, and explore meaningful applications of zero-energy assembly systems.

Any process that doesn’t consume energy must adhere to the fundamental principles of a self-assembly system. The family of strand exchange proteins that enable repair of mismatched dsDNA sequences act as perfect models for the an ideal self-assembly process – biology provides us with a near-perfect solution to a meaningful problem. Analysis of the behavior of these proteins can illuminate the biological solution to zero-energy complex pairing processes. Understanding the biological mechanism for preventing false pairings (energetic minima) could be utilized in the design of an “attractive lock and key system” with applications in synthetic drug design, tissue engineering, and other artificial nanosciences.

Self-assembly in DNA repair

Magnetically-guided network self-assembly

Magnetic_SA_Matrix
Magnetically-guided self-assembly of fibrin matrices with ordered nano-scale structure for tissue engineering.
Alsberg E, Feinstein E, Joy MP, Prentiss M, Ingber DE.
Tissue Eng. 2006 Nov;12(11):3247-56.

Magnetic sorting and self-assembly of unlabeled objects

Magnetic_SA_Rectangle
Magnetic_SA_Round