What is the relationship between structure and mechanics in biological molecules and biological materials?

Biomimetic biofilms and mineralized composites
Most living organisms use elements in their environment to fabricate composite materials. Due to their intricate and hierarchical structure, biocomposite materials present improved material properties when compared with their pure inorganic counterparts. We use microorganisms to fabricate biomimetic composite materials combining high stiffness and toughness. Collaborations: Anne Meyer (University of Rochester, USA), An-Wu Xu (USTC, China), S. Garcia (TU Delft), Filipe Natalio (Weizmann Institute, Israel).

Representative publication:

Spiesz EM*, Schmieden DT*, Grande AM, Liang K, Schwiedrzik J, Natalio F, Michler J, Garcia SJ, Aubin-Tam ME^, Meyer AS^
Bacterially-produced, nacre-inspired composite materials, Small, accepted
*equally contributing authors; ^corresponding authors

Mechanical processes at the cell membrane
Investigating the response of individual biomolecules and cells in response to  external physical/chemical stimuli helps us to understand the molecular mechanisms driving biological processes. We design, develop and use biophysical assays to track dynamical cellular processes occurring at the cell membrane. Collaborations: Andreas Engel, Bertus Beaumont (Bionanoscience, TU Delft), Daniel Tam (Lab for Aero & Hydrodynamics, TU Delft).

Representative publications:

Marin V*, Kieffer R*, Padmos R, Aubin-Tam ME
Stable free-standing lipid bilayer membranes in Norland Optical Adhesive (NOA81) microchannels
Analytical Chemistry, 88, 7466-7470, 2016
*equally contributing authors

Lindhoud S, Carvalho V, Pronk JW, Aubin-Tam ME
SMA-SH: Modified styrene-maleic acid copolymer for functionalization of lipid nanodiscs
Biomacromolecules, 17, 1516-1522, 2016