Project Info

Intracellular Nanofactories

Brian Trewyn

Project Goals and Description:

We are developing highly functional, biocompatible catalysts to be used intracellularly. As the formation of drug resistant diseases continue, we need to identify new methods to counteract the mechanisms in which cells survive in the presence of pharmaceuticals. One method is to synthesize these bio-active drug molecules inside of cells at the point of contact. The challenging redox conditions intracellular will drive lots of the reactions that we will target using both single site catalysts tethered to a surface and enzymes.

More Information:

Grand Challenge: Engineer better medicines. Scott E. Massimi, Kara E. Metzger, C. Michael McGuirk, Brian G. Trewyn, Best Practices in the Characterization of MOF@MSN Composites, Inorganic Chemistry 2022, ASAP Kara E. Metzger, Megan M. Moyer, Brian G. Trewyn, Tandem Catalytic Systems Integrating Biocatalysts and Inorganic Catalysts Using Functionalized Porous Materials, ACS Catalysis, 2021, 11, 110-122.

Primary Contacts:

Scott Massimi , Kara Metzger,

Student Preparation


Student should have a solid background in biochemistry (Biochem 1) and analytical chemistry. Ideally, enroll in my catalysis class in the fall 2022 (will not fill up, can wait until fall to sign up)




Material characterization: nitrogen sorption, XRD, electron microscopy, etc. Material synthesis: porous metal oxide and carbon materials, functional nanoparticles, nanoparticle and metal complex catalysts Testing catalytic activity, selectivity, and stability extracellularly but in simulated solutions. Cell line maintenance and experiments, flow cytometry, fluorescence microscopy, etc.


Mentoring is conducted by me, the PI of the project, and by the graduate students who are working on this project as part of their theses. We will meet weekly or biweekly individually and in a group. Weekly group meetings attendance is required as an aspect of this project. Papers will be coauthored by everyone involved and frequent meetings will occur to review progress.


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