When biological systems are subjected to supraphysiological stresses, injury occurs. The injury begins with stress mediated alteration in molecular structure, followed by the balance between secondary pathophysiological and molecular repair processes. Molecular characterizations of injury have been too complex to link to magnitude of macroscopic and practically unimportant because molecular injury has been considered irreversible. However, that concept is gradually changing as the ability to assist intracellular molecular healing has increased. This review provides perspective, for emerging use of biocompatible synthetic polymers to seal rips in cell membranes as well as disaggregate and refold denatured proteins, which has begun to shift focus to the molecular level.

Main research initiatives

  • Molecular interactions between surfactant copolymers and disordered membrane lipids
  • Molecular design of amphiphilic block copolymers for effective sealing of permeablized cell membranes
  • Structural characterization of damaged cell membrane lipid bilayers using X-ray and neutron scattering in conjuction with AFM imaging
  • Neuronal cell survival and function following sealing of peroxidated cell membranes
  • Development of therapies for brain trauma, spinal cord injury and cerebral palsy
  • Surfactan refolding of denatured proteins