O'Neil portrait

Alison O'Neil

Date: Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Time: 4:10 PM
Place: Byker Auditorium, Chemistry & Biochemistry Building

Title: Engineering P22 Virus-Like Particles to be Nanomaterial Building Blocks


Viruses have evolved to be efficient carriers of their nucleic acid cargo. Rendering viruses free of their nucleic acid, scientists are left with non-infectious, biocompatible, hollow, nano-sized containers. These containers have proved to be useful for such biomedical cargos as MRI contrast agents, drug molecules and enzyme replacement therapies. O’Neil will discuss her work on exploiting the bacteriophage P22 capsid for the engineering of protein and enzyme packaged nanomaterials.

About the speaker:

O’Neil was the recipient of a 2011 Kopriva Graduate Fellowship. She works with protein shells, which are found in diverse organisms and may provide blueprints for functional nano- and biomaterials design. Specifically, her research is focused on the development of a new class of bio-inspired materials that use the directed confinement of enzymes (or other proteins) within viral protein cage assemblies. While the encapsulated enzymes retain their native catalytic activity, the protein cage can be separately optimized as a container. These nano-reactors have varied applications in biomedicine and energy production.