Abstract: Natural materials can serve as great inspirational sources to develop next-generation polymeric materials for healthcare, defense and environmental applications, attributed to their exceptional physical, chemical and biological properties. Typically, the unique properties of natural materials are related to their biopolymer components, particularly structured proteins, and the structural organization of these proteins in materials. To mimic the superior properties of natural materials, by applying concepts of block copolymers and polymer networks, well-characterized functional proteins can be engineered into protein-based block copolymers, which can then be hierarchically assembled into nanostructured polymeric materials. Based on this approach, Dr. Kim will discuss the potential for mimicking the rapid reversible deformability of red blood cells, as well as proper protein-based block copolymer design and crosslinking strategy, to construct defect-reduced mechanosensitive polymeric materials for long-term in vivo biomedical applications.
Bio: Minkyu Kim is an assistant professor at the University of Arizona in Materials Science and Engineering, Biomedical Engineering and BIO5 Institute. He earned his Ph.D. (2011) in Mechanical engineering and Materials Science from Duke University. During his Ph.D., he worked in the Single-Molecule Force Spectroscopy group led by Prof. Marszalek. He was a postdoctoral researcher at MIT from 2012 to 2016 and worked in the Bioinspired and Biofunctional Polymers group led by professor Olsen. Dr. Kim has diverse research experiences in the areas of biopolymer nanomechanics, polymer physics and self-assembly, biomolecular engineering and soft materials. His research interests focus on design, synthesis, and multiscale characterization of biopolymer-based functional materials for human health, defense, and environmental applications. His research projects are currently supported by UA TRIF, UA TLA, NASA and CDMRP.