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Polymer science as a tool for materials design and biological discovery

Date: 2017-11-08
Time: 10:30
Venue: 中国科学院物理研究所M238会议室
Speaker: Liheng Cai, Ph.D. (蔡历恒)

Assistant Professor
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Department of Chemical Engineering, Department of Biomedical Engineering
University of Virginia, USA

The synthetic rubber and the natural cellular matrices are dramatically different, but their properties and functions are largely determined by structure and architecture of their common components polymers. Such a deterministic correlation poses opportunities in the field of polymer science. In this talk, I will discuss how a well-established concept polymer brush enables the design of new soft materials and the understanding of biological questions. First, I will describe how to make a polymer network by crosslinking bottlebrush rather than linear polymers. This prevents the formation of entanglements, enabling an extremely soft yet ‘dry’ rubber with prescribed elastic moduli mimicking that of ‘watery’ biological tissues. Second, I will describe the discovery of a brushlike extracellular matrix in the human airway. This biopolymer brush protects our lungs while inhaling noxious particulates. I will also discuss immediate applications and emerging challenges stimulated by these discoveries.

蔡历恒为美国佛吉尼亚大学(University of Virginia)材料科科学与工程系,化工系,和生物医学工程系Tenure-track Assistant Professor。2006年获兰州大学物理学学士学位,2012年获北卡罗来纳教堂山分校(University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)博士学位,师从著名的理论高分子物理学家Prof. Michael Rubinstein和肺病专家Prof. Richard C. Boucher。随后于2013-2017年在哈佛大学 (Harvard University)进行博士后研究,导师为著名的实验软物质物理学家Prof. David A. Weitz和细胞力学专家Prof. Jeffrey Fredberg。蔡历恒实验室专注于软物质和生物学交叉领域的研究。具体研究方向包括: (1)可3D打印软材料的研发和生物医学应用,(2)粘液对呼吸道和肠道的防护机理及其调控,(3)细菌和复杂环境的相互作用及其在医学和环境方面的应用。蔡历恒的研究工作曾作为封面文章发表在Science,Advanced Materials等杂志上,并广泛被国际主流媒体比如BBC进行报道。由于其贡献,蔡历恒于2012年获North Carolina Impact Award以及于2013年获哈佛大学博士后职业发展奖。蔡历恒实验室现在正在招收博士后、研究生以及本科生,详情请访问实验室主页:。