The multi-disciplinary study, conducted by the Department of Biological Sciences in collaboration with the Glenn H. Brown Liquid Crystal Institute (LCI), focuses on biological applications of lyotropic chromonic liquid crystals (LCLCs), which, unlike the liquid crystals used in displays, are compatible with living cells. The study of LCLCs started with the goal of developing new types of optical elements such as polarizing and compensating films. Recent advances could result in further development of new technologies such as biological sensors and drug delivery systems.
The funded area of study builds upon the works of Associate Professor of Biological Sciences Dr. Christopher Woolverton and Dr. Oleg Lavrentovich, LCI director and professor of chemical physics. Woolverton and Lavrentovich have been collaborating on the use of LCLCs for the last few years, publishing and presenting their results internationally. The Keck Foundation funds will make possible the purchase of a suite of equipment essential for a deeper study of this versatile class of liquid crystals. The equipment will permit Woolverton, Lavrentovich and their students to examine nanometer scale interactions between LCLC living cells, DNA and proteins, to reveal new information about biological systems that have liquid crystalline properties.
"Liquid crystals represent the fourth phase of matter," said Woolverton. "The Keck Foundation grant will facilitate research on the physical and chemical properties of
Contact: Lisa Lambert
Kent State University