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McGrath Lab

Nanomembrane Research

research imageMajor Research Areas

The study of molecular and physical mechanisms in cell migration

We are seeking a mechanistic understanding of the collective cell migration exhibited by endothelial cells as well as the ameboid-like migration of leukocytes. In this work we are developing predictive mathematical models by using quantitative microscopy to determine key model parameters and to test model predictions.

The characterization of nanoparticle interactions with protein and cellular systems

We are pioneering methods for relating the physical properties of nanoparticles to their capacity for protein binding and to their fate within cells. The goal of this work is to understand the characteristics that make nanoparticles toxic in some cases and effective as probes or delivery vehicles in other instances. These first two research programs rely heavily on our ever-growing repertoire of microscope-based techniques for the quantitatively characterization of living cells.

The development of ultrathin silicon nanomembranes for biological applications

We are advancing a research program in a broad effort to revolutionize silicon-based membrane material discovered at the University of Rochester. The freestanding, nanoporous membrane material is also molecularly thin and mechanically robust. We have shown that it can be used for size and charge-based separation of proteins and other biomolecules at rates orders-of-magnitude faster than traditional membrane materials. The membranes are also transparent and fully biocompatible so that cells of different types can be grown on either side of the membrane to remain separated by a molecularly thin, porous layer. By developing the membrane material as a cell culture substrate, we are helping biomedical scientists and developmental biologists address long-standing questions about short distance cell-cell communication. more info...

Recent Patents

Nanofabrication Using Actin Biocolumns

Technology ID: 2-11149-04040

The technology enables filament structures on a nanometer scale for use in optical devices and computer chips. The biocolumns may also be converted to wires by metalizing the surfaces. Actin biocolumns are advantaged because the fabrication can be controlled. Many natural binding proteins for actin can be used to control both the dynamics of column growth and resulting mechanics of the column. Because they are only nucleated by surfaces coated with a specific protein, ActA, biocolumns can be made to grow at specific locations.

James L. McGrath

James L. McGrath

Principal Investigator


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Contact Us

  McGrath Lab
306 Goergen Hall
Rochester, NY 14620

 (585) 273-5489

  (585) 273-4746