Complex coacervate droplets: from life to death and how to turn it into technology?
Complex coacervates are dense liquid-like phases that form when oppositely charged macro-ions are mixed under the right conditions (pH, ionic strength, mixing ratio).
My research focusses on three different aspects of these complex coacervates:
I believe that inside complex coacervates containing RNA and polycations proteins can be formed from amino acids without the presence of enzymes and DNA. These droplets will allow me to provide direct evidence for the RNA world hypothesis, but understanding the mechanism is equally if not more important.
Droplets of Death
In many cases membrane-less organelles are part of a disease pathway. Proteins which accumulate inside the droplets form fibrils that are lethal for the cell. If we can predict under what conditions disease related proteins bind and accumulate, this may lead to new ways to interupt the disease pathway.
The fundamental questions that are being investigated in the Droplets of Life and Droplets of Death pillars of my research will lead to new applications of complex coacervate droplets.
Lindhoud, S., & Claessens, M. M. A. E. (2016). Accumulation of small protein molecules in a macroscopic complex coacervate. Soft matter, 12, 408-413. DOI: 10.1039/c5sm02386f
Lindhoud, S., & Cohen Stuart, M. A. (2013). Relaxation phenomena during polyelectrolyte complex formation. In M. Mueller (Ed.), Polyelectrolyte Complexes in the Dispersed and Solid State I, Principles and Theory (pp. 139-172)
Crawford, R. J., Edler, K. J., Lindhoud, S., Scott, J. L., & Unali, G. (2012). Formation of shear thinning gels from partially oxidised cellulose nanofibrils. Green chemistry, 14(2), 300-303. DOI: 10.1039/C2GC16302K
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Below you can find a selection of MSc and BSc projects.
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