Structured Complexes of Highly Charged Macromolecules


Structured Complexes of Highly Charged Macromolecules

Prof. Matthew R. Tirrell
Department of Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, and Materials Science & Engineering
University of California, Berkeley


Multi-valent interactions in polyelectrolytes can exhibit dramatic, non-monotonic effects, for example, switching from repulsive to attractive, and back to repulsive again, in some cases. We have been studying these patterns of behavior with the surface forces apparatus (SFA) and with electrochemical methods, such as cyclic voltametry, which enables the quantitative determination of the number of multi-valent ions residing in the brush. We have looked at, di-valent ions such as Ca2+, tri-valent metal ions such as Al3+ and La3+, surfactants such as CTAB, as well as the coordination complex ions useful for electrochemistry. At fixed ionic strength, all cause strong shrinkage and condensation of poly(styrene sulfonate) brushes over a narrow range of ratio multi-valent to mono-valent ions. Effects of these multi-valent interactions on supermolecular and biomolecular assembly will be considered, with examples of layered structures and coacervate phases.

Speaker Background

Matthew Tirrell is Arnold and Barbara Silverman Professor and Chair of Bioengineering at UC Berkeley, with additional appointments in Chemical Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering, and as a Faculty Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Tirrell received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering at Northwestern University and a Ph.D. in 1977 in Polymer Science from the University of Massachusetts. From 1977 to 1999 he was on the faculty of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Minnesota, where he served as head of department from 1995 to 1999. Professor Tirrell completed ten years as Dean of Engineering at UC Santa Barbara on June 30, 2009. His research has been in polymer surface properties, adsorption, adhesion, surface treatment, friction, lubrication, biocompatibility and self-assembly. He has co-authored about 280 papers and one book and has supervised about 80 Ph.D. students. Professor Tirrell has been a Sloan and a Guggenheim Fellow, a recipient of the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award and has received the Allan P. Colburn, Charles Stine, William H. Walker and the Professional Progress Awards from AIChE, and was the Institute Lecturer in 2001. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the Indian National Academy of Engineering, and is a Fellow of: the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers, the AAAS, and the APS. He was named Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques in 2009. In 2003, Tirrell concluded two years of service as co-chair (with Ronald Breslow) of the steering committee for the National Research Council study: "Beyond the Molecular Frontier: Challenges for Chemistry and Chemical Engineering". In 2006-07, Tirrell chaired the NRC panel report on the NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers Program. Tirrell is an advisor to the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation (1997-present), Edwards Lifesciences (2000-present), Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital (Board of Directors, 2001-present), Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Center for Nanoscale Materials Science (2007-present) and Genomatica, (Engineering Advisory Council Member, 2008-present).



Tuesday, December 1


Michael's Restaurant at Shoreline Park Mountain View, CA  94043
Directions  Map


6 PM social hour
7 PM dinner
8 PM lecture





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Clayton Henderson

email: Clayton.Henderson -at-
phone: (408) 717-6599

Deadline for registration:

5PM, Monday November 23 for early registration discount
5PM, Monday November 30 for registration (or until venue has reached capacity.)

Dinner Selections:

Salmon filet with beurre blanc
Chicken Florentine
Vegetable Napoleon

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