A5: Brenda Palestina Romero
I have been fascinated by the intersection between biology, engineering, and physics since High School. This motivation drove me towards a Bachelors's in Nanoscience with a focus on biotechnology and an MSc. in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology with a specialization in biophysics. Now, under the guidance of Prof. Stefan Diez, I am exploring the intersections between microtubules (protein) and conductive materials. Thanks to the RTG, this project is developed in an interdisciplinary atmosphere full of potential collaborators.
Supervisors: Stefan Diez, Larysa Baraban
Microtubules (MTs) are crucial proteins for the cytoskeleton in mammal and vegetal cells. They consist of tubulin subunits that self-assemble to form hollowed cylinders of micrometers in length, with an outside diameter of 25nm, and an inner one of 14nm. These dimensions make MTs suitable as a mold for the electro-less deposition of metals or conductive materials .
In this work, we aim to explore the functionalization of MTs' inner and outer surfaces for applications in nanoelectronics. First, we will optimize the already established bottom-up fabrication of gold nanowires protocol  by increasing the nanowire length and yield synthesis.
Another option to consider is the outer surface decoration of MTs with gold nanoparticles with direct or self-assembly linkers. Moreover, the design of these conductive microtubules is not limited to gold particles. Other materials, such as customized conductive polymers, are also considered an option for this project.
The resulting nanowires could be applicable as interconnects in nanoelectronic circuits and as dynamic sensor platforms. In the future, a combination between inner and outer microtubule functionalization and the transportation of nanowires by molecular motors is conceivable.
 Joshi, F.M. et al. (2022) “Fabrication of high aspect ratio gold nanowires within the microtubule lumen,” Nano Letters, 22(9), pp. 3659–3667. doi.org/10.1021/acs.nanolett.2c00255.
ERASMUS Master in Nanotechnology and Nanoscience
KU Leuven and TU Dresden
Bachelor in Nanotechnology
National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)
Summer Research Internships