Gold Foams: From Basic Science to Biomedical Applications

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Friday, October 7, Storer 1322, 12:10pm-1:00pm

Speaker: Erkin Şeker
Assistant Professor, UC Davis ECE


Nanostructured materials offer tremendous opportunities for engineering advanced device components for diagnostic and therapeutic applications. Despite the recent research on these materials, significant challenges remain in controlling material properties, interfacing nanocomponents with instrumentation, and engineering their interaction with biological systems. Nanoporous gold (np-Au), produced by a nano-scale self-assembly process, has lately attracted remarkable interest from the scientific community for its desirable properties, such as large surface-to-volume ratio, electrical conductivity, and well-studied gold-thiol surface functionalization techniques. However, the incomplete understanding of its material properties limits its potential for integration in biomedical applications. In this talk, I will outline my research efforts to understand and control thermo-mechanical and morphological properties of np-Au using microfabricated test platforms. I will illustrate the application of micropatterning techniques for fabricating high-sensitivity multiple electrode arrays for neural electrophysiology studies. In the context of biocompatibility of implantable devices, I will discuss how tunable properties of nanoporous metals may be utilized to alleviate adverse tissue response and enhance device performance. I will specifically focus on mass transport in np-Au coatings, flexible electrodes, and interaction of nanoporous surfaces with biomolecules. I will conclude the talk with a discussion of remaining challenges for engineering multi-functional coatings for a broader set of applications, including miniaturized energy storage schemes and ultra-adherent electrical interconnects.


Erkin SekerErkin Şeker joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UC Davis in Fall 2011. He received his PhD degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Virginia in 2007. His doctoral research developed techniques to control mechanical and morphological properties of nanoporous gold, which is now under investigation for use as sensors and advanced medical implant coatings. He also investigated mass transport through porous media and synthesis of flexible electrodes. He was the recipient of both the Outstanding Research Award and Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award from the Department of Electrical Engineering. During his postdoctoral appointment in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Virginia, he investigated material-biomolecule interactions and developed microfluidic flow control schemes for facile liquid manipulation. Between 2009 and 2011, he was a research associate at the Center for Engineering in Medicine (CEM) at Harvard Medical School, where he developed high-sensitivity multiple electrode arrays for neural electrophysiology applications. In tandem, he acted as the leader of Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering Group at CEM, which aimed to develop microsystems for monitoring transcriptional and secretory dynamics at a cellular-level in the context of metabolic dysregulation. For his research proposal on developing multi-functional neural electrodes for diagnostic and therapeutic applications, he was awarded a Fund for Medical Discovery Award from Massachusetts General Hospital. His current research interests include development of microfluidic platforms for high-throughput material characterization and multi-functional sensors and actuators for biomedical applications.