Open Access Publications

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Open access publications by faculty, postdocs, and graduate students in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering


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Now showing 1 - 5 of 31
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    Genetic Fusion of Thermoresponsive Polypeptides with UCST-type Behavior Mediates 1D Assembly of Coiled-Coil Bundlemers
    (Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2023-05-09) Patkar, Sai S.; Tang, Yao; Bisram, Arriana M.; Zhang, Tianren; Saven, Jeffery G.; Pochan, Darrin J.; Kiick, Kristi L.
    Graphical Abstract: Available at: Computationally designed coiled coil-forming peptides were functionalized with thermoresponsive resilin-like polypeptides (RLPs) of various lengths and produced via biosynthetic methods in bacterial expression hosts. Interactions between RLPs upon cooling below their upper critical solution temperature (UCST) resulted in nanofibrillar assembly. Abstract Thermoresponsive resilin-like polypeptides (RLPs) of various lengths were genetically fused to two different computationally designed coiled coil-forming peptides with distinct thermal stability, to develop new strategies to assemble coiled coil peptides via temperature-triggered phase separation of the RLP units. Their successful production in bacterial expression hosts was verified via gel electrophoresis, mass spectrometry, and amino acid analysis. Circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy, ultraviolet-visible (UV/Vis) turbidimetry, and dynamic light scattering (DLS) measurements confirmed the stability of the coiled coils and showed that the thermosensitive phase behavior of the RLPs was preserved in the genetically fused hybrid polypeptides. Cryogenic-transmission electron microscopy and coarse-grained modeling revealed that functionalizing the coiled coils with thermoresponsive RLPs leads to their thermally triggered noncovalent assembly into nanofibrillar assemblies.
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    Dynamic bioinspired coculture model for probing ER+ breast cancer dormancy in the bone marrow niche
    (Science Advances, 2023-03-08) Pradhan, Lina; Moore, DeVonte; Ovadia, Elisa M.; Swedzinski, Samantha L.; Cossette, Travis; Sikes, Robert A.; van Golen, Kenneth; Kloxin, April M.
    Late recurrences of breast cancer are hypothesized to arise from disseminated tumor cells (DTCs) that reactivate after dormancy and occur most frequently with estrogen receptor–positive (ER+) breast cancer cells (BCCs) in bone marrow (BM). Interactions between the BM niche and BCCs are thought to play a pivotal role in recurrence, and relevant model systems are needed for mechanistic insights and improved treatments. We examined dormant DTCs in vivo and observed DTCs near bone lining cells and exhibiting autophagy. To study underlying cell-cell interactions, we established a well-defined, bioinspired dynamic indirect coculture model of ER+ BCCs with BM niche cells, human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) and fetal osteoblasts (hFOBs). hMSCs promoted BCC growth, whereas hFOBs promoted dormancy and autophagy, regulated in part by tumor necrosis factor–α and monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 receptor signaling. This dormancy was reversible by dynamically changing the microenvironment or inhibiting autophagy, presenting further opportunities for mechanistic and targeting studies to prevent late recurrence.
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    Structural Phase Transitions between Layered Indium Selenide for Integrated Photonic Memory
    (Advanced Materials, 2022-04-18) Li, Tiantian; Wang, Yong; Li, Wei; Mao, Dun; Benmore, Chris J.; Evangelista, Igor; Xing, Huadan; Li, Qiu; Wang, Feifan; Sivaraman, Ganesh; Janotti, Anderson; Law, Stephanie; Gu, Tingyi
    The primary mechanism of optical memoristive devices relies on phase transitions between amorphous and crystalline states. The slow or energy-hungry amorphous–crystalline transitions in optical phase-change materials are detrimental to the scalability and performance of devices. Leveraging an integrated photonic platform, nonvolatile and reversible switching between two layered structures of indium selenide (In2Se3) triggered by a single nanosecond pulse is demonstrated. The high-resolution pair distribution function reveals the detailed atomistic transition pathways between the layered structures. With interlayer “shear glide” and isosymmetric phase transition, switching between the α- and β-structural states contains low re-configurational entropy, allowing reversible switching between layered structures. Broadband refractive index contrast, optical transparency, and volumetric effect in the crystalline–crystalline phase transition are experimentally characterized in molecular-beam-epitaxy-grown thin films and compared to ab initio calculations. The nonlinear resonator transmission spectra measure of incremental linear loss rate of 3.3 GHz, introduced by a 1.5 µm-long In2Se3-covered layer, resulted from the combinations of material absorption and scattering.
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    Machine Learning-Enhanced Computational Reverse-Engineering Analysis for Scattering Experiments (CREASE) for Analyzing Fibrillar Structures in Polymer Solutions
    (Macromolecules, 2022-12-27) Wu, Zijie; Jayaraman, Arthi
    In this work, we present a machine learning (ML)-enhanced computational reverse-engineering analysis of scattering experiments (CREASE) approach to analyze the small-angle scattering profiles from polymer solutions with assembled semiflexible fibrils with dispersity in fibril diameters (e.g., aqueous solutions of methylcellulose fibrils). This work is an improvement over the original CREASE method [Beltran-Villegas, D. J.; J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2019, 141, 14916−14930], which identifies relevant dimensions of assembled structures in polymer solutions from their small-angle scattering profiles without relying on traditional analytical models. Here, we improve the original CREASE approach by incorporating ML for analyzing assembled semiflexible fibrillar structures with disperse fibril diameters. We first validate our CREASE approach without ML by taking as input the scattering profiles of in silico structures with known dimensions (diameter, Kuhn length) and reproducing as output those known dimensions within error. We then show how the incorporation of ML (specifically an artificial neural network, denoted as NN) within the CREASE approach improves the speed of workflow without sacrificing the accuracy of the determined fibrillar dimensions. Finally, we apply NN-enhanced CREASE to experimental small-angle X-ray scattering profiles from methylcellulose fibrils obtained by Lodge, Bates, and co-workers [Schmidt, P. W.; Macromolecules, 2018, 51, 7767−7775] to determine fibril diameter distribution and compare NN-enhanced CREASE’s output with their fibril diameter distribution fitted using analytical models. The diameter distributions of methylcellulose fibrils from NN-enhanced CREASE are similar to those obtained from analytical model fits, confirming the results by Lodge, Bates, and co-workers that methylcellulose form fibrils with consistent average diameters of ∼15–20 nm regardless of the molecular weight of methylcellulose chains. The successful implementation of NN-enhanced CREASE in handling experimental scattering profiles of complex macromolecular assembled structures with dispersity in dimensions demonstrates its potential for application toward other unconventional fibrillar systems that may not have appropriate analytical models.
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    Lignin-derivable alternatives to petroleum-derived non-isocyanate polyurethane thermosets with enhanced toughness
    (Materials Advances, 2022-11-30) Mhatre, Sampanna V.; Mahajan, Jignesh S.; Epps, Thomas H., III; Korley, LaShanda T. J.
    The structural similarities between lignin-derivable bisguaiacols and petroleum-derived bisphenol A/F (BPA/BPF) suggest that bisguaiacols could be ideal biobased alternatives to BPA/BPF in non-isocyanate polyurethane (NIPU) thermosets. Herein, bisguaiacol/bisphenol-derived cyclic carbonates with variations in methoxy content and bridging-carbon substitution were cured with two triamines of different chain lengths, and the impact of these differences on the thermomechanical properties of NIPU networks was examined. The methoxy groups present in the lignin-derivable cyclic carbonates led to thermosets with significantly improved toughness (∼49–59 MJ m−3) and elongation at break (εb ∼195–278%) vs. the BPA/BPF-based benchmarks (toughness ∼ 26–35 MJ m−3, εb ∼ 86–166%). Furthermore, the addition of dimethyl substitution on the bridging carbon resulted in increased yield strength (σy) – from ∼28 MPa for networks with unsubstituted bridging carbons to ∼45 MPa for the dimethyl-substituted materials. These enhancements to mechanical properties were achieved while retaining essential thermoset properties, such as application-relevant moduli and thermal stabilities. Finally, the triamine crosslinkers provided substantial tunability of thermomechanical properties and produced NIPUs that ranged from rigid materials with a high yield strength (σy ∼ 65–88 MPa) to flexible and tough networks. Overall, the structure-property relationships presented highlight a promising framework for the design of versatile, bio-derivable, NIPU thermosets.
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