Self-assembling pi-conjugated peptides as bioelectronic nanomaterials
Optoelectronically-active materials that exhibit molecular self-assembly, such as functionalized pi-conjugated polymers, have recently emerged in biomedical applications. By utilizing self-assembling peptides appended with known electroactive organic units, we discover the potential of these hydrogelators as bioscaffolds for electrosensitive cells such as neurons. These materials with tunable physicochemical properties can facilitate nanostructural energy transport in a controlled manner, therefore, can provide an innovative platform for scaffolds that can synergistically deliver topographical cues, chemical signals and optoelectronic stimuli to cells. We are currently investigating the effect pi-conjugated peptide scaffolds on the behavior, growth and/or differentiation of human neural stem cells and dorsal root ganglion neurons.
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