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Recombinant Spider Silk-based Hybrid Materials for Advanced Energy Technology


Prof. Dr. Thomas Scheibel, Universität Bayreuth; Lehrstuhl Biomaterialien, Gebäude FAN-D Universitätsstraße 30 95447 Bayreuth

Prof. Andreas Taubert, University of Potsdam; Supramolecular & Materials Chemistry, Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 24-25 D-14476 Potsdam


The project proposed here focuses on the synthesis of recombinant proteins based on spider silk. Specifically, peptide sequences known to bind to inorganic materials such as titania, silver, and gold shall be incorporated into the spider silk. Electrospinning will yield fibers and fiber mats to be used as templates / matrices for mineralization of the said inorganics. The main goals of the project include: synthesis and characterization of the recombinant spider silks and the fibers obtained thereof, evaluation of the mineralization and mineralization control vs. silk composition, structure, reaction conditions. The silk/TiO2/Ag and silk/TiO2/Au hybrid materials are model systems for other complex hybrid materials consisting of multiple components where the functionality depends on the specific arrangements of individual building blocks. Finally, we will investigate the photocatalytic activity of the final hybrid materials as a test reaction for actually generating a functional property from the controlled growth of two inorganic materials on the recombinant templates. The project therefore bridges recombinant protein technology and functional materials research. The question of special interest is whether genetically encoded information in a protein can be used for the generation of complex three-component functional materials and whether it is possible to use genetic engineering to a priori program the final properties and structure of a functional hybrid material into the respective gene(s) even before protein synthesis.