Enzymatic Noncovalent Synthesis for Biomaterials

Enzymatic reactions and noncovalent interactions are two fundamental non-genetic features of cells. Enzymatic noncovalent synthesis (ENS), a process that integrates enzymatic reactions and supramolecular (i.e., noncovalent) interactions for spatial organization of higher-order molecular assemblies, represents an emerging research area at the interface of physical (e.g., chemistry, physics, and nanotechnology) and biological sciences (e.g., structural biology, biochemistry, and cell biology). This talk will focus on the biological functions of ENS of small molecules, mainly short peptides. For example, pericellular and/or intracellular ENS selectively inhibits cancer cells and tumor growth; subcellular ENS delivers drugs and transfects gene expression into mitochondria; intercellular ENS enables cell morphogenesis (i.e., a 2D cell sheet become 3D cell spheroids). These studies have illustrated the use of supramolecular processes to control cellular functions for biology and medicine.

After receiving his BS and MS from Nanjing University in 1987 and 1990, Bing Xu obtained his PhD in 1996 from the University of Pennsylvania. Before starting his independent research at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) on the Aug. 2000, he was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University. He was tenured as an associated professor in Jan 2006 and became a full professor in July 2008 at HKUST. Bing Xu currently is a professor in the Department of Chemistry, Brandeis University. His research focuses on the applications of molecular engineering in materials, biology, and medicine.