Protein folding, artificial intelligence, and impacts on sustainable nanotechnology

computer-generated image of ribbon-like protein shapes

Back in 2016 you might have read about a computer called AlphaGo that beat some of the best Go players in the world (I even wrote a blog post about it). At the end of 2020, DeepMind (the same company that developed AlphaGo), made news again. This time, their latest version of an artificial intelligence …

How I Study Nanoparticles’ Interactions with Biological Soup

Designing non-toxic nanomaterials requires that we understand how those nanomaterials interact with biological systems. Systems such as you me, and all other organisms, contain a “biological soup” of chemical compounds, known as biomolecules. So the question becomes…how do nanomaterials transform once they come into contact with these biomolecules? This question has become increasingly important, especially …

Fungus Amongus – the Nanoparticle Producers

Recent discoveries continue to highlight the many uses of that wonderful kingdom of life, fungus.  Penicillin, a group of antibiotics that changed medicine forever, is derived from the Penicillium fungi (taken from a moldy cantaloupe in an Illinois market). These antibiotics have saved countless lives since WWII and are still in use today. Yeast, perhaps …

Citizen nanoscientists: Can you design nanomaterials from the couch?

Not too long ago, a team of frustrated scientists glanced up from their computer screens and saw the untapped potential beyond their lab doors. They had spent years trying to unravel the mysteries of protein folding, but some just couldn’t seem to be solved. Why not harness the brainpower of the public? The biochemists disguised …

Nature’s Nanomachines Harnessed to Enable Healthier Delicious Ice Cream

To me, one of the most interesting aspects of nanotechnology is how close in size the nanoparticles we can make are to the nano-sized components of living organisms. These nano sized proteins, lipids and nucleic acids have evolved to form the network of biological machines to support the abundance of life on this planet. Just as …