2014 Foresight Technical Conference: Integration —February 7-9, 2014
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The Future of Architectural Biomimicry at the Atomic Scale
Precisely folded proteins are Nature’s machinery: 3D molecular architectures, that are responsible for essential functions like molecular recognition and catalysis. In order to utilize these molecules under ever-more demanding conditions for urgent medical, environmental and energy-related problems, attempts are being made to synthesize robust and completely artificial protein-like structures. In this talk Ron will discuss interdisciplinary efforts to use robotic synthesis and computer simulation to design and synthesize information-rich synthetic peptoid polymers that can be programmed to fold into precise 3D nanostructures. Recent efforts have produced a family of peptoid nanosheets that are decorated with a high density of surface loops, to create an antibody-like material capable of velcro-like recognition of molecular targets.
Ronald Zuckermann, Biological Nanostructures Facility, The Molecular Foundry Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, received his B.S. in Chemistry in 1984 from Harvey Mudd College where he did undergraduate research in synthetic organic chemistry. He then went on to UC Berkeley to study Bioorganic Chemistry with Dr. Peter Schultz. His thesis work was on the synthesis of semi-synthetic nucleases capable of the sequence-specific cleavage of RNA. After receiving the first Schultz group Ph.D. in 1989, he became one of the founding chemists at Protos Corp., a combinatorial drug discovery start-up in Emeryville, CA. There he helped develop several key drug discovery technologies such as robotic combinatorial library synthesizers, affinity selection methods and a novel class of heteropolymers called “Peptoids”. Chiron Corp. acquired Protos in 1991 where this work continued and was applied to small molecule drug discovery, new biomaterials and DNA delivery. Dr. Zuckermann was promoted to Research Fellow in 2003. In early 2006, he left Chiron to join the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he is currently Facility Director of the Biological Nanostructures Facility at The Molecular Foundry. He was promoted to Senior Scientist in 2011. He has published over 90 papers and is co-inventor on 27 patents.