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Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
  • Alptekin Aksan
  • (612) 624-5599
Award Date:03/14/2007
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 400,000
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 457,500
  • FY 2010=$47,500
  • FY 2011=$80,000
  • FY 2009=$160,000
  • FY 2008=$10,000
  • FY 2007=$160,000
Start Date:09/01/2007
End Date:08/31/2013
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.041
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:CAREER: Room Temperature Stabilization of Cellular Factories by Confinement: A Thermodynamic Approach
Federal Award ID Number:0644784
DUNS ID:555917996
Parent DUNS ID:117178941

Awardee Location

Street:200 OAK ST SE
Awardee Cong. District:05

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Street:200 OAK ST SE
Cong. District:05

Abstract at Time of Award

ABSTRACT: CBET-0644784 , U. Minnesota, Dr. A. Aksan CAREER: Room Temperature Stabilization of Cellular Factories by Confinement: A Thermodynamic Approach The goal of this CAREER project is to develop a highly integrated research and teaching program focused on the thermodynamics of stabilization of biological systems (proteins, biomembranes, and cellular factories). Cellular factories are bacteria, plant, or animal cells that are genetically engineered to produce specific proteins, or to perform complex chemical reactions.). Preservation of biological systems at room temperature by confinement (by embedding in sugar glasses, or encapsulation in porous matrices) is emerging as a viable and economical alternative to traditional techniques that require cryogenic temperatures for processing or storage. Long-term room temperature stabilization of certain enzymes and proteins in silica matrix confinement has been possible. However, the same level of success could not be repeated for more sensitive proteins, or cellular factories. The reason for failure is not known. This is the driving force for the PI to develop his program. Intellectual Merit: The research objective of this project is to establish the thermodynamics of room temperature stabilization of biological systems by confinement. This will be achieved by pursuing the following specific aims: 1) Establish the mechanism(s), kinetics and thermodynamics of damage to biological systems due to changes in water activity, 2) Establish the mechanism(s), and thermodynamics of room temperature stabilization of biological systems by confinement, 3) Develop a thermodynamic model for room temperature stabilization by confinement. The integrated teaching objective of the proposal is to develop a novel, technology-based educational tool (the E-valuate Program), which is focused on increasing outreach and mentoring by increasing the exposure and involvement of undergraduate and high school students (as well as teachers) in scientific and engineering education and research activities. The objectives of this program are: Broader Impacts: The biological confinement systems are used in biomedicine (as insulin secreting implants for diabetic patients), biotechnology (recombinant protein, and enzyme production), bioremediation (to clean up toxic waste, and pollutants), green chemistry, alternative energy generation (electricity and hydrogen production by bacteria), and as biosensors ("canary cells," which can detect the presence of pollutants, viral agents, or toxic chemicals The research activities proposed here combine experimentation with theoretical modeling from a multidisciplinary perspective through the collaborations the PI has fostered with the Departments of Mechanical Engineering, and Microbiology, the Biotechnology Institute at the University of Minnesota and the local industry. This creates a unique research and teaching environment for undergraduate and graduate students employed through this project. The teaching program utilizes a very commonly available technological tool (a PC with an internet connection). This makes it easier for the PI to reach the underrepresented groups and geographically disadvantaged institutions. As part of the teaching plan, a combined undergraduate/graduate level course focusing on the applications of thermodynamic principles to natural phenomena will also be developed.

Publications Produced as a Result of this Research

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V. Ragoonanan, R. Less, A. Aksan, "Response of the cell membrane-cytoskeleton complex to osmotic and freeze/thaw stresses Part 2: The link between the structure of the membrane-cytoskeleton complex and cellular damage" Cryobiology, v.66, 2013, p.96. doi:10.1016/j.cryobiol.2012.10.008 

E. Reategui, E. Reynolds, L. Kasinkas, A. Aggrawal, M. Sadowsky, A. Aksan, L. Wackett "Silica Gel Encapsulated AtzA Biocatalyst for Atrazine Biodegradation" Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, v., 2012, p.. doi:10.1007/s00253-011-3821-2 

E. Reategui, A. Aksan "Effects of Water on the Structure and Low/High Temperature Stability of Confined Proteins" Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, v.12, 2010, p.10161. doi:10.1039/C003517C 

E. Reategui, A. Aksan "Effects of the Kinetic and Thermodynamic Transitions of Confined Water on the Structures of Isolated and Cytoplasmic Proteins" Journal of Physical Chemistry B, v.113, 2009, p.13048. doi:10.1021/jp903294q 

E. Reategui, A. Aksan "Structural Changes in Confined Lysozyme," ASME Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, v.131, 2010, p.074520. doi:10.1115/1.3171565 

J. Malsam, A. Aksan, "Hydrogen Bonding Kinetics of Water in High Concentration Trehalose Solutions at Cryogenic Temperatures" Journal of Physical Chemistry B, v.113, 2009, p.6792. doi:10.1021/jp8099434 

J. Malsam, A. Aksan, "Hydrogen Bonding Kinetics of Water in High Concentration Trehalose Solutions at Cryogenic Temperatures" Journal of Physical Chemistry B, v.113, 2009, p.6792. doi:10.1021/jp8099434 

R. Less, K.L.M. Boylan, A.P.N. Skubitz, A. Aksan "Isothermal Vitrification Methodology Development for Non-cryogenic Storage of Archival Human Sera" Cryobiology, v.66, 2013, p.176. doi: 

C. Scherber, J. Schottel, A. Aksan "Membrane Phase Behavior of Escherichia coli during Desiccation, Rehydration and Growth Recovery" Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, v.1788, 2009, p.2427. doi:10.1016/j.bbamem.2009.08.011 

J. Malsam, A. Aksan "Hydrogen Bonding Kinetics and Compartmentalization of Water in Supercooled Aqueous Acetone Solutions" Journal of Physical Chemistry B, v.114, 2010, p.4238. doi:10.1021/jp904381d 

A. Twomey, R. Less, K. Kurata, H. Takamatsu, A. Aksan "In Situ Spectroscopic Quantification of Protein-Ice Interactions" Journal of Physical Chemistry B, v.117, 2013, p.7889. doi:10.1021/jp403267x 

B. R. Mutlu, S. Yeom, H.-W. Tong, L. R. Wackett, A. Aksan, "Silicon Alkoxide Cross-Linked Silica Nanoparticle Gels for Encapsulation of Bacterial Biocatalysts" Journal of Materials Chemistry A, v.1, 2013, p.11051. doi:10.1039/C3TA12303K 

Project Outcomes Report


This Project Outcomes Report for the General Public is displayed verbatim as submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI) for this award. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Report are those of the PI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation; NSF has not approved or endorsed its content.

This project focused on using silica gel encapsulation to develop tools, methods and techniques that utilize biological materials (proteins, bacteria, and mammalian cells) for industrial and medical purposes.

We have successfully developed a technique that can screen out metastatic cancer cells from a very large heterogeneous population of cancer cells and normal cells. This has resulted in patent filings to develop a new technology that can be used in detecting and curing certain cancers.

We have successfully developed methods that utilize naturally occuring bacteria, and their abilities to degrade manmade and natural chemicals. Our silica-encapsulation technology provided a platform that keeps the bacteria encapsulated and intact in a highly porous gel. Water and chemicals then can freely diffuse through this medium. The bacteria selectively degrade the chemicals and reduce them to water and carbondioxide. 

To date, we have shown that the bioremediation technology developed in this project can be applied to remove herbicides and pesticides from farm run-off waters as well as for removing hydrocarbons from produced waters from the oil and gas extraction processes. Various patents were filed and a spin-off company has been started to coomercialize these technologies.

Through this project a total of nine students have been supported at various levels to conduct reseach. Almost all of the undergraduate students supported by this project were from under-represented groups and they are currently conducting graduate studies in different Universities across the nation. Two new classes that focus on interdicsiplinary studies have been developed by the PI.

Last Modified: 09/02/2013
Modified by: Alptekin Aksan

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