Levich Institute Seminar Announcement, 04/06/2010
Tuesday, 04/06/2010
2:00 PM
Steinman Hall, Room #312
(Chemical Engineering Conference Room)

Professor George John
City College of CUNY
Department of Chemistry

"Self-Assembled Soft Materials and the In Situ Synthesis of Nanoparticles"


The self-assembly of low molecular weight building blocks into nanoscale molecular objects has recently attracted considerable interest in terms of the bottom-up fabrication of soft nanomaterials. The building blocks currently used in supramolecular chemistry are synthesized mainly from petroleum-based starting materials. However, biobased organic synthesis presents distinct advantages for the generation of new building blocks since they are obtainable from renewable resources. Our research efforts are deeply devoted towards developing building blocks from renewable resources to generate soft materials such as new surfactants, liquid crystals, lipid nanotubes and molecular gels. Present talk illustrates few successful examples of generating self-assembled soft materials from agri-sources, through simple organic transformations and by enzyme catalysis. To take these materials to the next level, we successfully showed the utility of these hydrogels as drug delivery vehicles. Enzyme catalysis was used as a tool to make and break the hydrogels, which apparently triggered controlled drug delivery. Intriguingly, by combining biocatalysis, with principles of green and supramolecular chemistry, we developed building blocks-to-assembled materials. Also address the advances that have led to the understanding of chiral behaviour and the subsequent ability to control the structure of glycolipid nanostructures-derived from renewable resources-and the resulting impact of this on future material applications. The second part of the talk addresses the templated synthesis of nanoparticles using self-assembled soft materials.


Professor George John is an Associate Professor of Chemistry, the City College of the City University of New York (CUNY). After obtaining his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Kerala University (worked at the Regional Research Laboratory (now NIIST), he held several research positions-in the Netherlands, Japan and at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York before joining CUNY.


Professor John's research interests are in the broad area of organic and macromolecular materials chemistry, green chemistry and nanoscience. George is recognized for his active research in the field of functional molecular materials and green nanotechnology. His recent research on self-assembled soft materials has been widely acclaimed in many publications including Nature, Newsweek, Scientific American and in the New York Times. He is on the editorial team of two international journals. He has published over 40 scientific papers and holds more than a dozen patents on inventions related to value-added chemicals from renewable resources and biomaterials.