THE LAMPEL LAB- We design functional materials that are inspired by biology

We are an interdisciplinary group consisting biologists, biotechnologists and organic chemists. We take inspiration from functional biological materials, specifically, from the manufacturing processes of these materials, and implement these elements in the lab to develop materials with life-like properties. We are especially intrigued by compartmentalization of (bio) catalytic processes in confined microenvironments such as those provided by membrane-bound and membranelles organelles. Our current effort is focused on the design of organelle-like compartments to control and regulate reactivity for construction of molecules and materials, covering the entire range from fundamental studies to materials design. 

Research Interests:

Design of functional bio-inspired peptide materials
Peptides are promising building blocks of supramolecular materials for biotechnological applications as they are much simpler structurally than proteins, relatively easy to synthesize, and can be scaled up. The side chain groups of the 20 gene-encoded amino acids provide diverse chemical functionalities including aromatic, basic/acidic, polar, and aliphatic that can interact through various noncovalent intra- and inter-molecular interactions. These interactions result in supramolecular structures that can be designed for a specific functionality. Our objective is to design peptide materials with properties that are similar to those of biological materials including materials for photoprotection applications, cell support and encapsulation and delivery of biomolecules. We strive to establish the sequence-structure relationships underlying these materials to get a molecular level understanding of how they are built.

Design of peptide model systems of membraneless organelles
Recent studies have reported on the design of dynamic peptide assemblies for biomolecules encapsulation, with similar properties to those of intracellular liquid membraneless organelles. These dynamic assemblies differ from kinetically trapped or dynamically favorable structures in that they employ a combination of intra- and intermolecular order/disorder features. Their assembly is mainly driven by either (or combination of) electrostatic, hydrophobicor cation-πinteractions. We develop peptide systems which inspire by biology rely on liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) into dynamic structures that can compartmentalize enzymatic reactions. We use these peptide structures as simple in vitromodels of membraneless organelles to study their formation at the molecular level and the effect of environmental factors on their stability and functionality.

Stimuli-responsive supramolecular materials
The biological manufacturing process of materials, both extra-cellularly and intra-cellularly, is highly controlled, both spatially and temporally. The resulting biological materials typically respond to various physicochemical stimuli and as a response, change their properties. By taking inspiration from the highly regulated production of biological materials and by their responsiveness, we aim to control and modulate the synthesis of biomaterials and their properties by chemical or physical stimuli. Specifically, we use various polymeric-based and peptide-based compartmentalization systems that are activated by physical or chemical stimuli. The resulting materials- from pigments to synthetic organelles- can serve for various biomedical applications.

For more information:
Phone: 03-6409836
Website: https://www.lampellab.sites.ta…
Office: Green – Biotechnology, 233, Tel Aviv University

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