Bastiaan Buddingh’ received his M.Sc. in molecular life sciences from Radboud University in 2014. During his master’s, he worked on both polymeric nanoreactors for enzyme therapy in the bio-organic chemistry group at Radboud University, and new bioorthogonal reactions in the group of Prof. Carolyn Bertozzi at UC Berkeley. Currently, he is a Ph.D. candidate working on new functions for artificial cells in the group of Prof. Jan van Hest.
Adaptive microreactors as cell mimics
Cells are highly advanced chemical and biological microreactors. Their complexity and efficiency is hardly matched by synthetic systems of comparable structure and/or function. The goal of my research is to develop systems that closely mimic some of the characteristics of natural cells. Specifically, we try to create synthetic model systems capable of responding to external stimuli. Key examples of this responsive behavior in nature include chemotaxis, hormonal signaling, and controlled cellular growth and division.
Our model systems integrate natural and synthetic components like lipid and polymeric vesicles (liposomes and polymersomes, resp.), enzymes and (non-)natural substrates. A key feature of these systems is their ability to self-assemble and envelop selected components. This gives the vesicles the ability to respond to changes in their external environment.
The aims of these projects are to push the boundaries of self-assembly of synthetic systems, to further our knowledge of chemical and enzymatic reactions in a confined compartment, and to create artificial cells, which can shed light on the formation of the earliest forms of cellular life.
Buddingh’, B. C., & van Hest, J. C. M. (2017). Artificial Cells: Synthetic Compartments with Life-like Functionality and Adaptivity. Accounts of Chemical Research, acs.accounts.6b00512. doi.org/10.1021/acs.accounts.6b00512