Polymers Inspired by Mussels, Wine, Tea, Chocolate and Other Edibles (Messersmith - UC Berkeley)


“Properties and Applications of Synthetic Adhesive Polymers Inspired by Mussels, Wine, Tea, Chocolate and Other Edibles”

Prof. Phillip Messersmith
Departments of Bioengineering and Materials Science & Engineering
University of California, Berkeley

Sponsored by Rheosense

Mussels are masters of wet adhesion, employing very specialized proteins with unusual biochemical properties and amino acid compositions. The attachment organ of the mussel, the byssus, contains several proteins rich in 3,4-dihydroxy-L-alanine (DOPA), a catecholic amino acid that is believed to confer cohesive and adhesive properties to these proteins. In this talk I will discuss the role of DOPA in mussel adhesion, including model studies of catechol cross-linking and single molecule force spectroscopy measurements that shed light on the interfacial role of DOPA and other key amino acids found in these proteins. Our experiments provide insights into key mechanisms of biological adhesion, and also inform the design of synthetic mimics of these proteins. Examples of biomimetic materials include surgical adhesives and coatings for a variety of uses. Finally, I will briefly introduce our related work with polyphenols found in tea, chocolate, red wine and other foods and beverages. Plant polyphenols are chemically similar to DOPA due to an abundance of resorcinol, catechol, and gallol functional groups, and therefore can be exploited in similar ways as DOPA.

Speaker Background

Phillip B. Messersmith is the Class of 1941 Professor in the Departments of Bioengineering and Materials Science and Engineering at UC-Berkeley. He earned his B.S. degree in life sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana, M.S degree in bioengineering from Clemson University, and his Ph.D. degree in materials science and engineering the University of Illinois at Urbana. Dr. Messersmith was a postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University and a faculty member at the University of Illinois at Chicago Dental School, Northwestern University Dental School, and Northwestern UniversitySchool of Engineering prior to joining UC Berkeley. His awards and honors include a MERIT award from the National Institutes of Health, the Langmuir Lecture Award from the American Chemical Society, and the 2013 Clemson Award for Basic Research from the Society for Biomaterials. Dr. Messersmith is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the International Union of Societies of Biomaterials Science and Engineering. He is co-Editor in Chief of the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Biomaterials Science, and is a member of the editorial/advisory boards of Soft Matter, Langmuir, Materials Horizons, Nanomedicine, Biointerphases, Biomedical Materials, and Bioinspired, Biomimetic and Nanobiomaterials.
The Messersmith research group is interested in understanding structure-processing-property relationships of materials in biological systems, and in using this information to inform the design, synthesis and application of biologically inspired synthetic materials used in a variety of practical applications.


Tuesday, November 3


Michael's Restaurant at Shoreline Park
2960 N. Shoreline Park
Mountain View, CA 94043



6 PM social hour
7 PM dinner
8 PM lecture


Employed/postdoc Student/unemployed/retired
Early Registration  $30 $15
Registration $35 $20
Walk-in (not guaranteed) $40 $25

Lecture-only is free.



We accept cash or checks at the door, or online payment via credit card. No-shows are responsible for full payment of registration fee.


Please register below or contact:

Guohua Chen
phone: 650-353-7214

Deadline for registration:

11:59PM, Monday, October 12 for early registration discount.
5PM, Monday, October 19 for regular registration.

Dinner Selection:

Seafood - Broiled salmon with lemon beurre blanc
Chicken - Chicken marsala
Vegetarian - Mushroom crepes

You should receive confirmation of your registration; if not, please contact us again.

We are sorry but registration for this event is now closed.

Please contact us if you would like to know if spaces are still available.