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(CANCELLED) Nanoscience Seminar: Silvia Marchesan, University of Trieste

Speaker: Silvia Marchesan, Ph.D., University of Trieste, Italy

Title: Heterochiral Peptide Assembly: Entry to Wonderland through the Mirror

Abstract: Nature’s choice for homochirality has stimulated our research, as we question it with heterochirality. The scientific journey in this direction starts from the design of tripeptides to define self-assembly rules within chemical systems of biological relevance. We use one or two D-amino acids in D,L-tripeptides and study small libraries with variations in stereochemistry or amino acid sequence.1 We established how chirality affects spatial conformation for assembly from the molecular, nano-, micro- and through to the macro-scale, to link the macroscopic properties back to structural details of the building blocks.2 As Alice steps beyond the mirror and enters Wonderland,3 we can get inspired by D-amino acids and use them in D,L-peptides to achieve functional superstructures. We monitored molecular conformation and its evolution as a continuum to macroscopic hydrogels.2 We have now identified a more diverse library of self-assembling tripeptides with different functional groups. Applications range from (antimicrobial) biomaterials4 to supramolecular catalysis,5 with function that can be switched on/off with assembly/disassembly.


  1. Marchesan, et al.: Chem. Commun. 2012, 48, 2195; Nanoscale 2012, 4, 6752; J. Mater. Chem. B 2015, 3, 8123.
  2. M. Garcia, et al. Chem 2018, 4, 1862.
  3. Carroll. Alice Through the Looking-Glass, London, MacMillan (1871).
  4. Marchesan, et al. Biomaterials 2013, 34, 3678. M. Melchionna, et al. Curr. Top. Med. Chem. 2016, 16, 2009. A. V. Vargiu, et al. Chem. Commun. 2016, 52, 5912. M. C. Cringoli et al., Chem. Commun. 2020, doi: 10.1039/C9CC09947F.
  5. M. Garcia, et al. Chem. Commun. 2017, 53, 8110.

Bio: Silvia Marchesan is Associate Professor at the University of Trieste, Italy, since 2018 (www.marchesanlab.com, @MarchesanLab on Twitter). After the PhD at the University of Edinburgh (2008), she worked as postdoctoral fellow at the University of Helsinki (2008-2010), then jointly between CSIRO/Monash University (2010-2012) in Australia, before returning to Italy. She was selected by Nature as Rising Star in the natural sciences (2018) and by Nature Chemistry amongst those charting the future of chemistry (2019).

For more information, contact Muaad Alody at malody@gc.cuny.edu

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Event Information

March 23, 2020
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
ASRC Auditorium
85 St. Nicholas Terrace
New York, NY 10031 United States
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