Science Gets Bentley and Payne's Perspective on Self-Assembly

Fischell Department of Bioengineering and Institute for Bioscience & Biotechnology Research professors William E. Bentley and Gregory F. Payne share their thoughts on phenolics, chemical compounds which could be used to fabricate new biomaterials with advanced functionality, in the July 12 issue of Science. The pair were invited to author a column for the journal's Perspectives section, in which experts comment on the papers presented in each issue.

The piece, titled "Nature's Other Self-Assemblers," reviews new research that suggests phenolics could be the next big thing in the field of self-assembling biological materials. Phenolics are a class of molecules that are abundant in nature, found everywhere from plants, to soil, to skin and hair. Their properties vary and they serve many purposes, including facilitating intercellular communication in plants and animals, wound healing, and disinfection, and are present as aromas or flavors in foods.

Though abundant in nature, phenolics remain relatively unstudied. Bentley and Payne are among the few scientists who have acquired a deeper understanding of their antioxidant and electrical properties, thanks to a novel characterization technique developed by Payne Group Research Associate Dr. Eunkyoung Kim. As part of the Maryland Biochip Collaborative, the professors and their groups are exploring the use of phenolics as interfaces between biological and electronic components in sensors and biomedical devices.

For more information on the Bentley and Payne Groups' work with phenolics, see: Eunkyoung Kim, Tanya Gordonov, Yi Liu, William E. Bentley, and Gregory F. Payne. "Reverse Engineering To Suggest Biologically Relevant Redox Activities of Phenolic Materials." ACS Chem. Biol. 2013, 8, 716−724.

For Bentley and Payne's Perspectives column, see Science 12 July 2013: 136-137. [DOI:10.1126/science.1241562] Abstract

Published July 11, 2013