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“Mimicking Biological Membranes Using Synthetic Chemistry”

Dr. Manish Kumar

October 15, 2015, 2:30 PM–4:00 PM

Dr. Manish Kumar of Pennsylvania State University will present a seminar titled “Mimicking Biological Membranes Using Synthetic Chemistry”.  The seminar is scheduled for Thursday, October 15th at 2:30 PM in ERC 490



Abstract: Mimicking biological membranes using synthetic chemistry Biological membranes combine high permeability with high selectivity, a feature that is challenging to replicate in synthetic systems.  This is due to the presence of specialized proteins such as the water channel protein, aquaporin, present in biological membranes.   Current artificial analogs of aquaporins, carbon nanotubes (CNTs), are challenging to synthesize in sub nanometer dimensions and difficult to align in membrane systems.  There has been interest in artificial water channels that can be created using synthetic chemistry.  In this talk I will discuss results from a new architecture of artificial water channels, peptide-appended-pillar[n[arenes (PAPs). The average single channel osmotic permeability for PAPs is 1.0(±0.3)×10−14 cm3/s or 3.5(±1.0)×108 H2O molecules/s, which is within the range of biological water channels―aquaporins 3.4~40.3×108 H2O molecules/s and CNTs (9.0×108 H2O molecules/s). This is orders of magnitude improvement over first-generation artificial water channels reported before. PAP channels combine and improve upon the advantages of protein channels and CNTs through their relatively simple synthesis, chemical stability, simple alignment in membranes and efficient cross-sectional area (~33% effective pore area/channel vs ~0.8% for aquaporins and ~68% for CNTs(12,12). The ability to chemically modify the versatile chemical architecture of the pillar[5]arene channels shows promise for further improving water permeability and selectivity. Bio: Manish Kumar is an assistant professor of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Engineering at Penn State. He received his bachelors from the National Institute of Technology in Trichy, India in Chemical Engineering.  He completed a masters in environmental engineering at the University of Illinois and then worked for seven years in the consulting industry on applied research projects primarily centered around membranes for water.  He returned to Illinois to complete a PhD in the area of biomimetic membranes and then conducted postdoctoral research at the Harvard Medical School on the structure of water channel proteins, aquaporins.  He works in the area of membrane protein enhanced synthetic membranes and on developing artificial membrane proteins.  His group also works on improving reverse osmosis membrane processes.