Proposal/Contract no:
STRP 033256

About The Project

BeNatural targets to use nature as model for new nanotechnology-based processes by applying fundamental knowledge from structure and assembly of biological nanofibers and nanotubes into new innovative ways of designing and assembling man-made nanodevices. The project combines a wide pallet of approaches that range from fundamental structural biology to component assembly, biosensing and tissue engineering applications.

A major advantage in the assembly of natural materials is their self-assembly from building blocks, under non-aggressive conditions such as ambient temperatures and aqueous environments, and the good interface that exists between organic and inorganic phases. This interfacing role is most often mediated by the templating role of proteins. A fundamental understanding of all these factors is a necessary prerequisite for the rational “use of Nature as model for new nanotechnology-based processes”. BeNatural will use  previously identified structural information for the design of novel, self-assembling biological building blocks which will form the basis of more complex structure to be developed in a later phase of the project.

Another important feature in biological materials and especially proteins is the possibility of tailored-made modifications that can be made at the sequence level in order to create functionalities on the self-assembled scaffolds. These modifications cover a wide range and can include change of amino-acids, incorporation of non-natural amino acids, and chemical modifications. BeNatural will fully exploit this principle in order to confer binding and recognition properties to the self-assembled building blocks that are necessary for their interfacing with microsystems and further applications in (bio)sensing processes.

The introduction of biological self-assembly principles in the field of biomaterial and nanoscale engineering is relatively recent, and much remains to be clarified and understood. To implement large-scale industrial applications is certainly a long –term task, however the demonstration of the proof-or principle is a vital step towards this goal. BeNatural aims to substantially contribute to this recent research field by merging insights from hard-won biochemical and structural knowledge and nanosciences/technologies towards a long-term vision and large scale applications.
The major objectives of the project are as follows:

©2006 BeNatural