Clarkson University Professor Sergiy Minko
Pursues Studies about Membrane Formation

Professor Sergiy Minko

Professor Sergiy Minko, the Egon Matijevic' Chaired Professor of Chemistry at Clarkson University, and his post-doctoral associate Yuri Roiter are collaborating with Corning Incorporated on the study of mechanisms that form supported membranes. A supported membrane is a single, continuous phospholipid bilayer on a solid or polymeric substrates. They are broadly used in cell-cell recognition studies, adhesion, cellular communication, receptor-ligand binding and have found analytical applications in medicine. These applications are based on the remarkable ability of supported membranes to preserve specific biological functions. Supported membranes can be assembled by spontaneous adsorption and fusion of phospholipid vesicles with an appropriate substrate such as mica, glass, silica, and polymers.

For many applications it is important to understand the mechanism of the fusion of the lipid vesicles with solid substrates (in detail), since the latter may affect the membrane fluidity, mobility of proteins in the membrane and their activity. At the same time an appropriate communication between the membrane and the substrate can be used for biosensing.

The Clarkson team has developed an experimental approach to study the lipid bilayer formation that is based on in situ atomic force microscopy (AFM). See Figure 1. The group has constructed a special liquid cell with a built in thermostat and a sample holder. They conduct experiments which allow them to monitor step by step formation of the lipid membrane on various types of solid support. They also developed a special software to process the recorded AFM images of the protein bilayers (Figure 2).

CAMP Hosts Farewell Party for Dr. William America. From left: Former CAMP Deputy Director William America, Distinguished University Professor/CAMP Director S.V. Babu, and Clarkson University President Anthony Collins.

CAMP Deputy Director William America Accepts Position at NXP

CAMP Deputy Director William America recently accepted a managerial position at NXP, a newly independent semiconductor company (founded by Phillips). Dr. America, who served CAMP for over a year and returned to the Hudson Valley for family health reasons, remains an Adjunct Professor at Clarkson University. He has over thirty-two years of industrial experience and has been awarded 19 patents. In addition Dr. America has worked with CAMP since 1999 and was the first candidate to complete Clarkson University's External Ph.D. Program. He received a doctorate degree (2002) in chemistry for his research in chemical mechanical planarization. Distinguished University Professor/CAMP Director S.V. Babu and Clarkson University's former CAMP Director and Chemistry Professor Raymond Mackay served as his research advisers for the graduate program.