(application abstract) The theme of the proposed Nanomedicine Development Center is design of biomimetic nanoconductors and devices utilizing nanoconductors. The model theoretical systems will be native and mutant biological ion channels and other ion transport proteins and synthetic channels, and heterogenous membranes containing channels and transporters. The model experimental systems will be decorated nanopores in silicate wafers or other substrates, and ion channels and transporters with lipid surround inserted in arrays of nanopores. In some cases the experiments will be designed to assay the properties of the channels and transporters. In other cases, the experiments will be designed to explore the emergent properties of heterogeneous arrays of transporters as they apply to major roles of ion transport in biological systems: a) Electrical and electrochemical signaling b) generation of osmotic pressures and flows c) generation of electrical power. d) Energy transduction At the most applied level, the experiments now planned will be aimed directly at the design of a class of devices for generating electric power, the biobattery. General relevance: It appears that every living cell has membrane ion transporters, and some viral genomes code for them as well. They are universally implicated in regulating and driving water balance and osmotic flow, signaling, generation of electrical currents, and transduction of energy at the level of cells, organelles, and molecules. Thus deeper understandings of the molecular mechanisms of ion transport, and of the emergent properties from the interactions of ion transporters, have broad relevance to understanding a wide range of physiological processes. These understandings will yield insight into disease echanisms and targeting strategies against diseases, and also form the knowledge base for design of medically useful biomimetic bio-compatible devices. The broad categories of such devices that we reckon can be constructed using nanoconductor components are: sensors, power sources, energy transducers, and osmotic pumps. The devices can be any size from nanoscale up. They can be utilized for either research or therapy in any situation in which miniaturizability, biocompability, efficiency, and bio-drivability, as described above, are significant assets.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Research Development Center (PN2)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZEY1-VSN (11))
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Fisher, Richard S
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University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
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United States
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