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Theme 2 colloquium by dr. Siddharth Deshpande (WUR): 'A Tale of Two Droplets: from Synthetic Cells to Biosensors' (Lecture)

Tuesday 8 November 2022Add to my calendar
from 16:00
dr. Siddharth Deshpande (Emergent Biological Systems Lab, Wageningen University)

Siddarth DeshpandeIn thislecture, I willelaborate ontwoexcitingstories from mynewly establishedlab, eachrevolving aroundaspecific typeof droplet.

The first story is about a novel and easy way to make biocompatible containers for synthetic cells. Engineering synthetic cells has a broad appeal, from understanding living cells to designing novel biomaterials for therapeutics and hybrid interfaces.Here,we usephase-separated liquid dropletsand coat it with actin cytoskeleton, an intracellular protein polymer(Fig. 1A). Under the right conditions, the droplets are transformed intocell-sized porous containers, which we call actinosomes. We show the functionality of actinosomes by using them as bioreactors capable of protein synthesis. Actinosomes haveappealing properties like ease-of-production, inherent encapsulation capacity, and an active surface to form multicellular assemblies, with potential in medical and biotechnological applications.

The second storyis about usingliquid crystal dropletsas microsensorstosense amphiphiles. We utilize chiral nematic liquid crystal microdroplets, which show strongly reflected structural colours, as sensing platforms. We systematically quantify the optical response of closely related biological amphiphiles and find unique opticalsignatures for each species. We show lab-on-a-chip capability of our method by drying droplets in two-dimensional arrays(Fig. 1B)and hydrating the chip to detect dissolved analytes. Finally, we show proof-of-principlein vivobiosensing in the intestinaltracts of live zebrafish larvae, where thedroplets show a clear optical responseinhealthy and inflamed tissues. Ourresults show the potentialof liquid crystalsin developing detection platforms andforin vivodetection ofbiomolecules.

​Evan Spruijt, Peter Korevaar, Wim Velema