Research Fellows Directory
Dr Masayoshi Tanaka
University of Leeds
Accompanying the development of various nano-sized particles (1 millionth of a mm) with unique properties such as optical, catalytic, electric and magnetic properties during the past decade, there has been considerable interest in controlling the assembly of these particles, because this is crucial not only for the development of nanotechnological devices but also for the enhancement of the material properties.
If the shape regulation of the liposome (artificially prepared hollow spheres (vesicles) made from fats (lipid bilayer)) could be controlled, these have a great potential, to develop various shaped materials. In addition, because the lipid bilayer is identical to biological cell membranes, the developed materials covered with the lipid bilayer are highly biocompatible.
To reach our goals of fabricating highly regulated biocompatible materials possessing one dimensional structure, we are trying to control the liposome shape using biological molecules called BAR proteins, which are generally known to relate to membrane budding and vesicle formation within the biology cells. The protein binding to liposomes causes them to elongate (tubulate) like very fine fatty tubes. This can be observed in vitro (outside the biology system in a test tube). Using BAR proteins, the highly regulated tubulated liposomes are being developed for biocompatible nanowires in our research with the addition of magnetic nanoparticles and quantum dots. Due to their small dimension, nanowires display unique magnetic, catalytic, optical, and electrical characteristics that differ from the bulk material.
If successful this work will maximize the potential and the application of tubulated liposomes and nanowire materials, and will mark a significant breakthrough in nanowires production. This fundamental research is highly beneficial not only nanosciences but also for the UK public as a whole because the materials are highly applicable for industry.
Interests and expertise (Subject groups)