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Seminar: Katharina Ribbeck, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Title: “Bioinspired hydrogels: tuning selective transport and microbial interactions”

Date/Time: 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 11:30am

Presenter: 

Katharina Ribbeck, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Location: 

LGRT 201

Details: 

ABSTRACT
The goal of our research is to elucidate the mechanisms that govern selective filtering
by mucus, an important biological hydrogel which coats wet surfaces in the body of all
animals. Mucus has critical, but poorly understood, biological functions in protecting
tissues from attack by pathogens, and facilitating transport of particulate material. I
will present our work on basic mechanisms by which mucus barriers exclude, or allow
passage of different molecules and pathogens, and the mechanisms pathogens have
evolved to penetrate mucus barriers. We hope to provide the foundation for a
theoretical framework that captures general principles governing selectivity in mucus,
and likely other biological hydrogels such as the extracellular matrix, and bacterial
biofilms. Our work may also be the basis for the reconstitution of synthetic gels that
mimic the basic selective properties of biological gel-based barriers.