The fellowship will support Catherine’s research into the mechanism of charge transport in microbial nanowires from the bacteria Geobacter. In particular, she will be exploring the nuances of the structure to explain charge transport mechanisms.
“This is my second year in the Malvankar lab, a cohesive, interdisciplinary team of bright scientists who are fascinated with the filaments produced by this bacteria,” said Shipps, who is a student in the Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry Department. “West Campus has provided many of the tools necessary for my preliminary work and will continue to as I move forward with my project. I am grateful for the NDSEG fellowship and the opportunity to continue working in such a stimulating line of research!”
Scientists have long known that Geobacter make conductive nanowires – 1/100,000 the width of a human hair – but to date no one had discovered what they are made of and why they are conductive. A recent study by the Malvankar lab revealed that the protein nanowires have a core of metal-containing molecules called hemes.
In future the wire could be used to connect cells to electronics to build new types of materials and sensors.