Alex Wilber

Alex is a PhD student working with the Doye and Louis groups on

"Positive design" for self-assembly, inspired by biology

This project is inspired by Nature's remarkable ability to self-assemble complex biological structures. A good example would be viruses, which reversibly self-assemble into the same structure without the problems of polydispersity often seen in micelles. Our experience with negative design in protein crystallisation suggests that this is almost certainly linked to orientational character in the interactions. I am interested in seeing what kind of "positive design rules" control these interactions. Could we also reverse-engineer them to design a particular desired 3-dimensional structure? This could have important implications for nanoscience, where objects are too small to directly manipulate, and instead must come together by self-assembly mechanisms.