Berrie Research Group

Back row, from left: Nilan Kamathewatta, Tyler Nguyen, Xavier Ortiz, Sarah Gress, Patrick Connelly, and Yasmine Farhat. Front row, from left: Sasanka Ulapane, Jennifer Doolin, Dr. Cindy Berrie and Sam Steuart.

The fundamental investigations of the nanoscale properties of materials in our laboratory are intended to enable the design and implementation of future nanobiodevices.  Success of these devices requires that all of the different aspects of design of the material (including the protein adsorption, mechanical stability, and electrical signal transport) be optimized.  In particular, research in our group has focused on the effect of nanoscale structure on 1) biomolecule adsorption, 2) friction and adhesion, and 3) electrical conductivity of organic molecules. In all of these cases, we are interested in designing model systems in which the nanoscale structural and chemical variations can be achieved.

Research Profiles

Jennifer L. Doolin, Ph.D candidate

Altering graphene's electronic properties has been demonstrated using organic molecules, but a greater understanding of how these dopants behave at the molecular scale is needed.  I use Kelvin Probe Force Microscopy (KPFM) to map how azulene derivatives locally modify graphene's surface potential, based on how the molecules are oriented on the surface.

Nilan J.B. Kamathewatta, Ph.D. candidate

I am optimizing the electroless deposition of gold and the formation of gold nanowires by AFM nano shaving and electroless deposition. I work with the formation of gold nanoarrays by particle lithography-based techniques and I also study specificity, selectivity and thermal stability of gold affinity peptide tagged proteins (putrescine oxidase) on different surfaces to develop biosensors. My research requires fluorescence imaging optimization of the GFP and DsRed fluorescence proteins on gold surfaces.

Patrick Connelly, First-year graduate student

My work involves attempting to merge two different nanosphere lithography methodologies on thin glass substrates. One method uses evaporative metal coating, and the other employs electroless deposition. Currently, I am attempting to see if suitable nanofeatures for electroless deposition can be formed after evaporative coating has been performed on the same surface.

Sasanka B. Ulapane, Ph.D. candidate

I work with the development of organized metallic nano structures and arrays towards plasmonic biosensing applications and oriented enzyme assemblies on surfaces. My research combines techniques such as nanosphere lithography, electroless deposition of noble metals, protein surface interactions and localized surface plasmonic resonance. I am also studying protein inhibition mechanisms, surface characterization and modifications via self assembly and thin film deposition.

Tyler M. Nguyen, Fourth-year undergraduate student

I work with atomic force microscope (AFM) imaging of protein-surface interactions and novel materials and putrescine oxidase immobilization on surfaces using gold-binding peptide tags. My research involves the development of protein-resistant, hydrophilic self-assembled monolayers (SAMs).

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