The synergistic combination of nanotechnology and biology has resulted in numerous innovative approaches for using biomolecules as machines, new therapies for diseases, and biological and biomolecular sensors. One of the most exciting prospects of nanotechnology is that nanoparticles can act as a “handle” by which one can control nanoscale processes, particularly biological ones. Unfortunately, one of the biggest barriers for effectively using nanoparticles in biology is non-specific adsorption, where proteins and DNA non-covalently stick to nanoparticles. However, we show how non-specific adsorption can be exploited for several biological applications. We describe how it can be used to enhance in vitro translation to increase protein synthesis 100%. In addition, by utilizing the unique size and material dependent properties of gold nanorods, we demonstrate a means to reversibly control blood clotting with light.
Dr. Kimberly Hamad-Schifferli obtained her S.B. in Chemistry from MIT in 1994. She obtained her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2000 in the group of A. Paul Alivisatos. Following this she was a postdoctoral associate in the group of Joseph Jacobson at the MIT Media Lab before joining MIT in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Biological Engineering as a faculty member from 2002-2012. She has received the ONR YIP award. She is currently a scientist at MIT Lincoln Laboratory.