Neha Kamat Artificial cell/protocell models, membrane biophysics, emergent behaviors from synthetic membranes, membrane stress-sensing

Research Interests

Cell membranes define the boundary of the smallest unit of life, the cell. These membranes dictate a variety of sensing and signaling processes that drive cellular behaviors. We build models of cellular membranes using a variety of natural and non-natural amphiphiles like phospholipids, fatty acids, and diblock copolymers. Using these models, we study how membrane composition affects the biophysical properties of membranes and how emergent behaviors arise from mixtures of amphiphiles and genetic polymers.

Artificially constructed membranes serve as a platform to explore how plasma membrane composition (proteins, lipids, oligosaccharides) affects membrane protein function, to design new types of materials that can mimic the responsive behaviors of cells for biotechnology applications, and to provide insight into fundamental physical and chemical processes related to the origins of life.

Selected Publications

Controlling Secretion in Artificial Cells with a Membrane AND Gate. Hilburger CE, Jacobs ML, Lewis KR, Peruzzi JA, and Kamat NP. ACS Synthetic Biology. 2019 June 21;8(6):1224-1230.

Diblock copolymers enhance folding of a mechanosensitive membrane protein during cell-free expression. Jacobs ML, Boyd MA, and Kamat NP. PNAS. 2019 March 5;116(10):4031-4036.

Visualizing Tension and Growth in Model Membranes Using Optical Dyes. Boyd A and Kamat NP. Biophysical Journal. 2018 October 2;115(7):1307-1315.

Electrostatic Localization of RNA to Protocell Membranes by Cationic Hydrophobic PeptidesKamat NP, Tobé S, Hill IT, and Szostak JW. Angewandte Chemie. 2015 September 28;54(40):11735-11739.

Engineering Polymersome ProtocellsKamat NP, Katz JS, and Hammer DA. Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters. 2011 July 7;2(13):1612-1623.

View all publications by Neha Kamat in the National Library of Medicine (PubMed). Current and former IBiS students in blue.