Reynolds - Self assembled nanomaterials

My group focusses on the design, discovery and characterization of self-assembled nanomaterials. Molecular self-assembly is an evolutionary optimized process where biological molecules with two or more distinct regions (e.g. one part of the molecule may be hydrophilic [water loving] and the other maybe hydrophobic [water hating]) organize themselves to form complex structures with distinct nanoscale morphologies (fibrils, micelles, vesicles etc). Such self-assembling materials have applications in diverse technical fields including tissue engineering, drug delivery, antibacterial materials, biological and environmental sensing and understanding disease.

The goal of my groups research is to develop materials, devices or medicines that have real and tangible benefits to communities in Australia and worldwide. For this to be possible, routes to translate our fundamental research to clinics, facilities and factories must be identified. Thus, I work closely with the MedTech industry, clinicians and government agencies to enable the translation of research outcomes into commercial devices, products and therapies.

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Research areas

Self-assembled peptide nanofibrils as materials for 3D cell culture, bioprinting and tissue engineering.

We are exploring the applications of a variety of self-assembling nanofibrillar peptides, and their ability to act as 3D culture materials for a variety of cell types. These materials have applications in fundamental biology, tissue engineering and bioprinting.

Understanding the role of protein aggregation in diseases

Misfolded protein aggregates known as amyloid fibrils are the molecular hallmark of a number of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. However, protein misfolding and amyloid aggregation also play important roles in a number of other maladies that are not traditionally thought of as amyloid diseases. We are interested in studying the amyloid aggregation processes in some of these less well studied amyloid diseases. Currently, we have active projects investigating the role of amyloid assembly in inborn errors of metabolism such as Phenylketonuria (PKU), and investigating if amyloid assemblies are playing a role in some of the neurological symptoms that occur in COVID-19. These fundamental investigations will help us understand the molecular mechanisms that underpin the progression of these diseases, hopefully revealing new potential therapeutic targets that will aid the development of new drugs.

Meet the team

Group members

Group Leader

Dr Nicholas Reynolds

Research Assistant

Jeremy Engwirda

PhD student

Christopher Chong (with Dr Katrina Binger)

Masters/Honours students

Michael Osborne (SMBB Masters Student, with Dr Katrina Binger)
Bonnie Mclean (Honours student)

Publications

See a full list of publications [external link] or view Dr Nicholas Reynold's profile.