Host: Dr. Huang
Integrating enzymes with nanoscale synthetic materials offers new opportunities in biomaterials design. Thus far, most efforts are focused on developing new materials with desired functions. However, the structural basis of the functionality of the generated materials, such as orientation, structure, and dynamics of the involved enzymes, is often under-explored due to the technical challenges caused by the synthetic counterparts. However, understanding the structure-function relationship of the complex materials is critical in understanding the functionality and guiding the rational design of the generated complex materials. In this work, we employ site-directed spin labeling (SDSL) and Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) spectroscopy to overcome the technical barriers and reveal the key structural basis of enzyme at the interface of biology and synthetic materials. We will show example applications of SDSL-EPR on probing the structural and dynamic details of proteins/enzymes in complexation with a unique nanoscale porous synthetic material, Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs). Our work is meaningful in both improving the understanding of the behavior of enzymes upon integration with synthetic materials and guiding the rational design of advanced biomaterials.
Zhongyu Yang originally came from China. In 2004, he received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Science and Technology of China. Then he moved to the University of Pittsburgh to pursue a Ph.D. in physical chemistry, majored in EPR spectroscopy. After completing his Ph.D. in 2010, he joined the research group of Wayne Hubbell at UCLA to continue his EPR and biophysics research. Starting Fall 2015, he started his independent career at NDSU. His research is focused on revealing the structure and dynamics of proteins upon integration with various synthetic materials including nanoparticles, polymers, and metal-organic frameworks using site-directed spin labeling and EPR spectroscopy. Such fundamental research will have a broad impact on the design and application of hybridized biomaterials when combining proteins/enzymes with synthetic materials.