By Cameron Chai
Virgil Percec, a reputed scientist, offered a speech at the inaugural function of Kavli Foundation’s Innovations in Chemistry Lecture at the 241st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.
He spoke on utilizing Nature as a model and adviser for the development of innovative solutions and also for basic advancement in science and technology. He termed this approach as, ‘bioinspired design’.
Virgil Percec’s lab at the Pennsylvania University headed a global team of researchers to develop an artificial materials library capable of imitating the cell membrane and the biological films that carry the constituents of the human body’s 50 trillion cells. Membranes of cells comprise mostly of fats and proteins and they play a major role in regulating the entry of chemical signals and nutrients into cells and also the exit of materials synthesized inside the cells.
The researchers determined that when specific organic materials named dendrimers are added to water, they automatically develop into a menagerie of nano-dimensioned packets resembling bubbles, disks and tubes. Percec termed them as ‘dendrimersomes’ and these structures can effectively act as packets for transporting genes, drugs, analytical agents and cosmetics into the human body, The structure of dendrimersomes resembles innate cell membranes, making them biocompatible with other cells of the body.
When compared to the currently used nanomaterials for supplying drugs dendrimersomes are highly stable, specific and efficient. The packages can be easily formed and are consistent in size. They can also be tailored for various attributes and functions, which provide them further benefits in the rising nanomedicine field.
Percec’s speech will explain dendrimersomes and other bioinspired substances, which can be used for enhancing several applications like electronics, water purification and solar cells. The speech was made in the Anaheim Convention Center on March 28.
Robert W. Conn, President of Kavli Foundation, has stated that they are focused on enhancing science for the wellbeing of humanity, improving public awareness of scientific study and supporting researchers and their research. He added that Kavli Foundation Innovations in Chemistry Lecture program ideally matches with their commitment.
The Kavli lectures were inaugurated at the Anaheim meeting during this International Year of Chemistry and will persist through another two years. The lectures will highlight the immediate requirement for innovative thinking for handling several tasks like rising diseases, climatic variations and water and energy scarcities. All the lectures will be funded by the Kavli Foundation.