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C.J. Brinker - Research

Ion Channel Sensors

In order to understand transport in membrane supported ion channels, we have fabricated synthetic lipid bilayer with embedded ion channels on nanoporous silica support. AmB peptides form channels in bilayer system via self-assembly and provide a model system representing selectively permeable biological membranes with excellent gating mechanism. Our approach employed self-assembled, nanoporous silica films as a new type of lipid bilayer membrane support/interface imparting fluidity and durability by creating ionic reservoir akin to cytosol. These synthetic ion channel integrated with electronic platforms enable real time conversion of molecular recognition events into digitized/quantized electronic signals. We have investigated the influence of a nanoporous silica support on the ion channel structure and function by in-situ AFM ion and conductance recordings.

Future plan:

Engineer and control the channel diameter via underlying nanoporous support and vary the channel surface chemistries to allow/block ions, DNA strands, peptides of great interest in sensing devices, proteomics and DNA sequencing.