Research Highlights

Prof. Dongsoo Hwang Comes Up With Advanced Materials Solutions Underwater

2016-02-29 762
Prof. Dongsoo Hwang has made significant achievements in his academic career since receiving his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D in Chemical Engineering from POSTECH. He now teaches in the School of Environmental Science and Engineering, the Division of Integrative Bioscience & Biotechnology, and the School of Interdisciplinary Bioscience & Bioengineering.
Prof. Hwang’s research focuses on biomimetrics, manufacturing biomimetic environmentally friendly products, and characterizing the properties and performance of biomimetric material. He has recently published articles on his research findings in scientific journals PNAS, Angewandte Chemie, and Advanced Healthcare Materials.
The February edition of PNAS features Prof. Hwang’s work on polyelectrolyte complexes. Prof. Hwang and his team have discovered complexation and coacervation of two positively charged polyelectrolytes, which provides a new paradigm for engineering strong, self-healing interactions between polyelectrolytes underwater and a new marine mussel-inspired underwater adhesion mechanism. Unlike the conventional complex coacervate, the like-charged coacervate possesses a very low interfacial tension, which enables this highly positively charged coacervate to be applied to capture, carry, or encapsulate anionic biomolecules and particles with a broad range of applications.
Mussel-inspired self-polymerized catecholamine coating has been widely utilized as a versatile coating strategy that may be applied to a variety of substrates. Prof. Hwang’s research in this area was published in the February edition of Angewandte Chemie. For the first time, nanomechanical measurements and an evaluation of the contribution of primary amine group to poly(catecholamine) coatings have been conducted using a surface forces apparatus. The contribution of the primary amine group to the catecholamine coating is vital for the design and development of mussel-inspired catechol-based coating materials.
His third publication, in the February edition of Advanced Healthcare Materials, reports a facile and efficient dentin hypersensitivity treatment with remarkable aesthetic improvement inspired by the tunicate-self healing process. As pyrogallol groups in tunicate proteins conjugate with metal ions to heal the torn body armor of a tunicate, Prof. Hwang’s research team mimicked the ingenious mechanism by introducing Gallic acid (GA) as a cheap, abundant and edible alternative to the pyrogallol groups of the tunicate combined with a varied daily intake of metal ion sources. The GA/metal ion complex-mediated coating is instant and effective, and is suggested as an aesthetic solution for treating dentin hypersensitivity.