Levich Institute Seminar Announcement, 02/27/2007

Tuesday, 02/27/2007
2:00 PM
Steinman Hall, Room #312
(Chemical Engineering Conference Room)

Dr. R.A. Mashelkar, FRS
CSIR Bhatnagar Fellow
President, Indian National Science Academy of India

"On Putting Life Into Gels"


Synthetic hydrogels have been considered as potentia1 biomimetic materials. The attributes of sensitivity, selectivity and mobility were demonstrated earlier in these materials. The other attributes of biomimetic materials, namely self-organization, self-healing and enzyme-like activity were demonstrated for the first time by our research group. The presentation will demonstrate the creation of gels having enzyme-like activity (gelzymes), which can switch the enzymatic activity on and off in response to a stimulus, the discovery of molecular recognition induced macroscopic reversible morphological transitions and the discovery of self-healing phenomena in certain classes of gels.

Interestingly, the creation of 'gelzymes' followed by a standard research methodology of creatively assembling different research tools for fulfilling an end objective. The discovery of 'macroscopic self-organisation' as well as the phenomenon of 'self-healing' was due to serendipity. In the light of our learning, some generic issues concerning organization of research itself will be also discussed.