In the News

KOMO News - UW researchers test new alternative product that may treat cavities

June 6, 2018

SEATTLE -- Dreaded dentist visits may soon be a thing of the past thanks to a game-changing way to treat cavities. University of Washington researchers have found an alternative solution to fighting off cavities: peptides. These tiny proteins, derived from amino acids, aid in restoring crown enamel. The peptide solution, which can be in the form of toothpaste or gel, binds onto tooth surfaces and works to rebuild the mineral layer. Read more...

MolE Feature: Ph.D. Student Ty Jorgenson

May 24, 2018

At the intersection of genetic engineering and nanoscience, second-year MolE Ph.D candidate Tyler (Ty) Jorgenson is developing a set of design rules for devices that join biology with solid-state materials. His specific research focus is the self-assembly of solid-binding peptides and their interfaces with single-layer atomic (2D) materials, which he says is particularly promising for bioelectronic devices. Read more...

NEWSWEEK - Tooth Pain: New Dental Treatment Could Heal Cavities Without Need for Fillings

April 16, 2018

Scientists have developed a new substance to treat dental cavities without making a costly and unpleasant trip to the dentist. Inspired by the proteins in our bodies which form teeth, the new product uses peptides—which are structurally similar to proteins—to repair the enamel on the part of the tooth which requires treatment. 

The team at the University of Washington used peptides derived from a protein called amelogenin, which is vital for forming the hard enamel on teeth, to create the substance which remineralizes tooth enamel. Read more...

Syncing Nanotechnology and Cells

October 24, 2016

At least 30,000 genes make up every cell in our bodies, doing everything from repairing damaged tissue to fending off disease. While biology and technology have long existed as two poles on the science spectrum, a team of UW engineers are working on new ways of linking our biochemical makeup with our technological devices.

In a paper published last month in Scientific Reports, UW engineers demonstrated new methods of using proteins to bond with metals and to the calcium compounds that make up our teeth. Read more...

New Protein Bridges Chemical Divide for ‘Seamless’ Bioelectronics Devices

October 3, 2016

Life has always played by its own set of molecular rules. From the biochemistry behind the first cells, evolution has constructed wonders like hard bone, rough bark and plant enzymes that harvest light to make food.

But our tools for manipulating life — to treat disease, repair damaged tissue and replace lost limbs — come from the nonliving realm: metals, plastics and the like. Though these save and preserve lives, our synthetic treatments are rooted in a chemical language ill-suited to our organic elegance. Implanted electrodes scar, wires overheat and our bodies struggle against ill-fitting pumps, pipes or valves. Read more...

ACS Nano Podcast Interview: Episode 23, June 2009

June 23, 2009

Managing Editor Penelope Lewis is joined by Sarah Tegen to highlight features and research content from Volume 3, issue 6 and from ACS Nanotation. In this episode, we learn about combinatorial genetic techniques and their use in molecular biomimetic materials, and about carbon nanotube networks for transparent electrodes. We also introduce our new Ask the Scientist expert on ACS Nanotation, Prof. James Gimzewski. Featuring interviews with authors Mehmet Sarikaya and Zhenan Bao. Listen here.

UW Researchers Imitate Life with New Science

February 21, 1997

Nature is providing the lesson plan for a relatively new field of science at the UW. Biomimetics - literally, imitation and mimicry of life or of living things - is a new branch of science that lies at the interface of biology and the physical sciences.The study lends itself to collaboration among many different disciplines of science. For instance, one project may include researchers from genetics, biochemistry, engineering or biology, to name a few. It incorporates materials and techniques drawn from naturally made substances into man-made processes and materials. Read more...

NewScientist - Technology: The mother of all pearls

March 28, 1992

Douglas Adams wrote in the third part of his series the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, ‘very few things actually get manufactured these days, because in an infinitely large universe . . . most things one could possibly imagine, and a lot of things one would rather not, grow somewhere.’ As an example, he described a forest where trees grow ratchet screwdrivers as fruit.


Adams may soon be proved right, but without going so far afield. Researchers are now trying to harness the way living organisms can produce useful inorganic materials. They hope to produce thin coatings which are tougher than any synthetic ceramic and microscopic magnets that could one day be used in tiny machines. Read more...

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