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BMEN Doctoral Student Wins International Symposium Poster Competition

Laura Rivera Tarazona

Laura Rivera Tarazona, a BMEN doctoral student, recently won an international symposium poster prize for her research on shape-morphing living composites. The poster prize was sponsored by the Journal of Materials Chemistry B at the International Stimuli-Responsive Materials Symposium held October 21-23, 2018, in Windsor, CA. Tarazona, a member of the Ware Research Group, used genetic engineering to create living composites that respond to pre-determined, specific stimuli.

The shape-morphing living composite was made from Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast cells encapsulated in polyacrylamide hydrogels. The yeast cells multiplied, causing the matrix to expand up to 300% in the presence of an appropriate growth media, responding to a change in glucose concentration or the presence of essential amino acid. Researchers used optogenetic tools to regulate DNA transcription upon light illumination in modified yeast cells. The precise direction control of the shape-morphing structures has potential applications in tissue engineering, sensing and drug delivery systems.

Here is a link to the abstract of her paper.