Sarah Perry, UMass Chemical Engineering Department faculty, has recently become a PSE adjunct faculty member. Before joining the ChemE Dept in 2014, Sarah worked as a postdoc with PSE alum Professor Matthew Tirrell in the Bioengineering Department at the University of California at Berkeley and moved with the lab to the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago. (Her initial research in the Tirrell Group focused on the use of self-assembling DNA-lipid films for use in transfection. She then expanded her research to investigate the self-assembly, structure, and physics of biomimetic polyelectrolyte systems known as complex coacervates for use as artificial organelles or nanoreactors.) Although Sarah has been collaborating with PSE research groups for years, we welcome her as an adjunct!
Research in the Perry laboratory utilizes self-assembly, molecular design, and microfluidic technologies to generate biomimetic microenvironments to study and enable the implementation of biomolecules to address real-world challenges. Individually, microfluidics represents an enabling technology for high throughput analyses such as thetime-resolved structural ananlysis of enzyme dynamics, while control over molecular interactions in self-assembling polyelectrolyte systems can be used to examine the interplay between biomolecules and the environment. Together, these capabilities can be coupled to generate artificial organelles for use in applications ranging from biochemistry to bioenergetics, biocatalysis, and biomedicine. Furthermore, this work has tremendous pedagogical potential to inspire students to work at the intersection of chemistry, biology, and engineering.