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Thursday, February 07

Controlling Nanodisc-to-Nano-Vesicle
Formation and Implication of Its Applications

Mu-Ping Nieh, The University of Connecticut, Storrs
CNMS Seminar
3:00 PM — 4:00 PM, Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (Building 8610),
Room L-183
Contact: Kunlun Hong (, 865.574.4974


The morphological phase of a phospholipid aqueous solution depends on the interplay between the molecular spontaneous curvature, the hydrophobic-hydrophilic interaction, the charged density, and the crystallinity of the acyl chains. Different structures include spherical micelles, cylindrical micelles, vesicles, lamellae and inverted micelles. In phospholipid mixtures, an even greater variety of structural phases can be found as a result of the combinations of the different species. An example would be the "bicelle" (bilayered micelle), an aqueous mixture of long-chain and short-chain lipids. Due to their magnetic alignability, bicelles have been used as goniometer substrates for characterizing structures of membrane associated proteins. However, there is a lack of fundamental understanding of the robust formation mechanisms of various morphologies (e.g., perforated lamellae, disk-like micelles and unilamellar vesicles). This presentation will provide some insight to the important controlling parameters and the stability of these spontaneously forming structures. The possible applications of these structures will also be discussed.