Bioanalytical Chemistry and Biomembrane Research

Our group conducts research in bioanalytical chemistry. We investigate a variety of  molecular interactions that occur at biological surfaces, particularly lipid bilayer membranes. We aim to better understand membrane structure, as well as the influence of membrane composition on protein-lipid interactions. Many of the protein-lipid interactions we study are crucial to the structure and function of the nervous system.

 

We also utilize nanoscale surface patterning techniques to develop high-throughput methods to characterize chemical composition and monitor molecular transport dynamics in biological nanostructures such as liposomes, synaptosomes and bacterial outer membrane vesicles. 

Another aspect of our research focuses on lipid oxidation and how it alters the chemical and physical properties of lipid bilayer membranes. We study consequences of lipid oxidation on the interactions between biomembranes and solid substrates. We also analyze how light-triggered lipid oxidation can promote shape changes in biological membranes.   

Our work makes use of a number of techniques and technologies like optical microscopy, biosensing, particle analysis, spectroscopy, electrochemistry, microfluidics, 3-D printing, and nanofabrication. Some of our projects involve collaborations with medical researchers and engineers, thus there are ample opportunities for multidisciplinary training and for students to make connections outside of chemistry.

Interested undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs are encouraged to contact Prof. Wittenberg (njw@lehigh.edu) to inquire about available research opportunities.