I will be giving a talk at the American Chemical Society’s Colloid and Surface Science Symposium on June 7. My talk is titled “Extending colloidal aggregation to proteins” and represents a good chunk of my graduate work.
Aggregation and gelation have been studied extensively by using colloids as a model system. And even though there is still much to be done with colloids, there is also the need to extend this research to biological materials. We have used denatured silk protein solutions as our “colloidal suspension” because they are isotropic, stable, and we can work at high concentrations. We studied the aggregation behavior caused by a change in the pH using the framework established with the colloidal literature. While our results show some similarities, the major difference between colloid and silk protein aggregation is that the associations between two protein cause structural changes in the protein. In real life, protein structural changes upon aggregation are important to understand because they can be associated with diseases (think amyloid fibrils in Alzheimers).
If you are going to this conference, I’d appreciate if you checked out my talk.