A number of groups are attempting to use genetic engineering technology to modify bacteriophages to produce proteins that will have altered properties useful for materials applications in nanotechnology. These applications include sensors for pathogen detection; high density magnetic materials for computers; and improved catalysts for chemical synthesis or miniature batteries. I have reviewed these various approaches in this article. While there have been many patents filed around these techniques, to date it does not appear that any have been commercialized. I also examine what the possible challenges for the commercialization of using bacteriophages and their proteins to create novel biomaterials might be.Dr. Hyman involves Ashland University science students in his research on bacteriophages. A recent graduate and former research assistant, Shane Bemiller, will be starting his doctoral studies this Fall, and two other students are currently working in Dr. Hyman's lab. Check back for more news on their findings.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Microbiologist publishes new book chapter on viruses and nanotechnology
Paul Hyman, Assistant Professor of Biology, recently published a chapter in the new book Advances in Applied Microbiology. His chapter, entitled "Bacteriophages and Nanostructured Materials", reviews the ways that scientists are using a group of viruses called bacteriophages to produce nanomaterials. Dr. Hyman says that: