20.109(F09):Module 3

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20.109(F09): Laboratory Fundamentals of Biological Engineering

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Module 3

Instructors: Angela Belcher, Natalie Kuldell and Agi Stachowiak

TA: Bridget Wall

“Invention” is a wonderful word, derived from words meaning “scheme” and “a finding out.” Inventors draw on materials provided by the natural world, refining and combining them in insightful ways, to make something useful. In this experimental module we will invent materials by manipulating biological systems, namely the bacteriophage M13. We will use a very slightly modified phage to build gold nanowires and then we'll let the phage themselves do the building, assembling them into a coin-style battery. Drawing on the rich stockroom of biological elements and a good but incomplete understanding of their behavior, we’ll hope to invent some novel materials with real-world applications.

This module has been developed thanks to the generous time and thoughtful efforts of several Belcher lab members, in particular Lieutenant Colonel F. John Burpo
CNN videotape of Angie Belcher teaching President Obama about this work

Day 1: Growth of phage materials
Day 2: Phage nanowires
Day 3: TEM
Day 4: Battery assembly
Day 5: Battery testing
Day 6: Research proposal presentations

Notes for Teaching Faculty

TA notes, mod 3