MSE Seminar - Professor Maria Santore - University of Massachusetts

MSE Seminar
Event Date:
Monday, September 22, 2014 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Boggs B6

"Biomimetic Interfaces:  From hierarchical structure to dynamic function"

Biological systems are exquisitely designed on multiple length scales to selectively accomplish essential dynamic life functions, for instance response to environmental triggers.  In particular, fascinating behaviors at the cell surface, involving signaling and trafficking originate and the level of the membrane and the biofunctional molecules that interact with other cells and with the environment.  Dynamic cell response even occurs when cells flow over and dynamically adhere to surfaces at relatively high shear.  This talk examines several features of cells, related to cellular function, and translates them to synthetic materials systems.  We start with an example of a tension-responsive membrane whose phase separation depends on mechanical force.  In biology, this behavior mediates transport and cell communication.  We provide new information about the biophysical system and then translate this behavior to new responsive polymer membrane system.  Next, examples are considered where the arrangement and presentation of adhesive surface groups achieves selective binding that transcends simple biomolecular specificity.  Finally, we demonstrate how the cell (neutrophil) rolling, which comprises an early step of the innate immune response, can be recapitulated in an entirely synthetic microfluidic system, with attention to key features of adhesive interactions.


Professor Maria Santore, of the Polymer Science and Engineering Department at UMass Amherst, conducts research on colloidal phenomena, nanomaterials, polymer and phospholipid membranes, and polymer interfaces.  Her work is distinguished by its emphasis on reversible interactions and adhesion, that she engineers at the molecular and nanometer scales to impart dynamic function to materials. Santore trained as a Chemical Engineer with a concentration in Colloids and Polymers, first for her BS Degree at Carnegie Mellon and then for her Ph.D. at Princeton, under the support of an NSF Graduate Fellowship.  Following an NRC-sponsored Post-doctoral Associateship in the Polymers Department at NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology), she joined the Chemical Engineering faculty at Lehigh as a chaired assistant professor.  While at Lehigh, Santore was a visiting Associate Professor at the Institute for Medicine and Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania and in 2001 she joined the Polymer Science and Engineering Faculty at UMass.  Among Santore’s recognitions are Fellowship in the American Chemical Society, American Physical Society, and in the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  Santore is a Section Editor on Polyelectrolytes for the Elsevier Journal, Current Opinion in Colloid and Interface Science, she serves on the editorial board of Macromolecules, and she is a Senior Editor for the ACS Journal, Langmuir.

Host:  Zhiqun Lin