Unnatural peptide-based fibrous materials and functional nanostructures
In collaboration with Monash researchers we have developed a unique β3 peptide based self-assembling platform that forms fibrous nanomaterials. These peptides fold into highly stable helices with a pitch of 3.0-3.1 amino acids, hence the side chains align in the larger polypeptides. The helical form is also remarkably stable even for short sequences and for a wide variation of amino acid side chain geometries and chemistries.
We study the factors affecting the self-assembly of these peptides, working towards implementing multiple self-assembly motifs and chemical "switches" to create either self-spun fibres, two dimensional arrays, or three dimensional metamaterials. The accessible sidechains offer easy pathways of chemical modification of these peptides, which we utilize to develop functional nanomaterials.