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HEMI AI-M Seminar: Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, JHU

March 22 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

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Building Platforms for Active Hierarchical Colloidal Assembly and Data-directed Design Toward Material Resiliency


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Self-assembly, the autonomous organization of simple building blocks into functional devices by design, holds great potential for integration within the manufacturing of advanced materials. However, to make such devices with self-assembly, we need to be able to program means by which particles or molecules themselves direct formation. The design of binding potentials alone does not allow us to emulate the complex geometry of devices, or the complex structure of mechanically superior materials such as nacre. In this project, we have collaboratively been developing tools to explore the autonomous time-dependent control of binding potentials using biologically inspired chemistries. These new chemistries allow for a vast range of binding processes, which now suggests the need for design rules about how to combine the binding processes to control structure and dynamics. This seminar will describe our collective progress in 1) demonstrating the potential of hierarchical self-assembly to build layered and structurally complex materials, 2) developing simulations that allow us to efficiently predict the results of chemistries in this new design space, and 3) developing means to use the results of simulations to guide design. These new methods will help us explore the potential of biologically inspired means of extending the capabilities of traditional materials create complex multiscale structure, induce active responses and eventually, direct repair.


Cheng-Hung Chou is a second year PhD student from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, advised by Dr. Rebecca Schulman & Dr. Yannis Kevrekidis. He is actively working on hierarchical colloidal self-assembly using reaction-diffusion modeling, machine learning and DNA nanotechnology. He’s generally interested in studying dynamical & stochastic systems.

Pepijn Moerman is a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Rebecca Schulman working on controlling the self-assembly of DNA-coated colloids using enzymatic reactions. Before his postdoc, he did a PhD with Willem Kegel and Alfons van Blaaderen at Utrecht University studying chemical communication between oil droplets. His current work is funded by the American Institute of Physics through the Robert H.G. Helleman fellowship.

Tom Bertalan is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. He received his PhD from Princeton University’s Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, with a graduate certificate in Computational and Information Science. Tom’s research interests are in data mining, dimensionality reduction, and system identification for high-dimensional dynamical systems, with applications in robotic perception and planning, and computational neuroscience.