The BNT group (founded early 2009) aims at understanding some of the basic principles driving the formation of nano-sized objects and nano-structured materials that Nature has created in the course of evolution. The goal is to use biological principles as a guidance towards the design of self-assembled, multifunctional and responsive materials in which biomolecules or bio-inspired architectures are used as building blocks. Therefore we apply (macro)-molecular and supramolecular chemistry in combination with molecular biology approaches. For example, we employ protein building blocks to form nanometer-sized reactors and use the highly symmetric properties of these protein cages as scaffolds for functional materials. Techniques used in our laboratory range from synthetic chemistry and protein engineering to physical characterization using state-of-the-art facilities in the MESA+ constellation.
Our group pursues a broad range of research interests. Potential BSc or MSc projects can involve themes such as:
- Protein isolation, derivatization and assembly
- (Bio)-catalysis in nanometer confinement
- Hierarchical self-assembly of nanoparticles and other functional nano-objects
- Synthesis of novel molecular dopants for adaptive materials