Culver Part of Winning Nanobiotech Grant Team

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Professor James N. Culver.

Graduate Program in Bioengineering affiliate professor James M. Culver (professor, Center for Biosystems Research, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute) will collaborate on a project that has been awarded a 2009 Maryland Nanobiotechnology Research and Industry Competition Grant of $250,000 from the State of Maryland. The winning proposal, "A Micro-Direct Methanol Fuel Cell with Nanostructured Platinum Catalysts Using the Tobacco Mosaic Virus," will be carried out in collaboration with P.I. Associate Professor Reza Ghodssi (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and affiliate, Graduate Program in Bioengineering) and Assistant Professor Chunsheng Wang (Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and University of Maryland Energy Research Center).

The Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) and the Maryland Biotechnology Center, Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) announced the award, one of 12 statewide, on June 4.

The project combines the professors' expertise in micro-electro-mechanical systems and microfabrication (Ghodssi), biology and protein engineering (Culver), and fuel cells and batteries (Wang) to design and develop high-performance, low-cost, portable micro-power sources using a simple and inexpensive biotemplate: the tobacco mosaic virus (TMV).

TMV has a high aspect ratio plant nanostructure which can be genetically modified to include functional groups that facilitate electroless metal deposition and self-assembly onto gold surfaces. This biotemplating process has been integrated with standard micro-machining for the development of micro-fabricated batteries. The result is a fuel cell with surface area nano-structured electrodes.

For More Information:

Visit Dr. Culver's homepage »
Visit Dr. Ghodssi's web site »
Visit Dr. Wang's homepage »
Read the DBED press release »

Published June 18, 2009