Intellectual Merit: This NSF award by the Biosensing /CBET program supports work by Professors D. Keith Roper and Shannon Servoss at University of Arkansas is to self assemble a novel platform to detect and analyze membrane proteins. The platform consists of electromagnetically active arrays of nanorings in which lipid bilayers are stabilized by novel linkers to stabilize and test membrane proteins better than existing lipid vesicles. Electromagnetism interacting with concentrated electrons localized to the nanoring interface provides increased sensitivity relative to existing optical or electronic sensors. Supporting this study develops a sensitive, highthroughput platform to detect biomarkers to diagnose disease, test efficacy for therapeutic targets, and advance understanding of cell function.
Broader Impacts: This study will educate two graduate students in active bio/nano photonics and peptidomimetics in an integrative multidisciplinary environment to fabricate and analyze nano scale devices and biomaterials. Its social impact includes introducing underrepresented undergraduates to STEM research in NSF REU programs. Results will incorporated into workshops to introduce K-12 students to engineering in interactive, hands; on experiments as part of a program sponsored by the College of Engineering. Its economic impact arises from possible applications of self; assembled electromagnetic biomaterials that enhance single; molecule microscopy and biosensing and become next generation opto electronic elements in microarrays and near; field optical microscopy.