Richard Zare's research interests focus on nanoscale chemical analysis. His HHMI project includes a laboratory course in the life sciences for undergraduates that will examine light and photosynthesis in an interdisciplinary way and a biochemistry course aimed at motivating students to pursue a research career.
Cell-Imprinted Polymer Films for Selective Capture of Bacteria
A glass slide covered with bacteria is pressed into another glass slide coated with partially cured polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). The PDMS is hardened, and the cells are removed to create a textured surface whose indentations preferentially capture the same type of bacteria when a mixture of bacteria is flowed over it. Many possible uses are being explored—from detecting tuberculosis bacilli in sputum to assessing bacterial contamination in food.
For more information, I recommend that you read the following articles:
Ren, K., and Zare, R. N. 2012. Chemical recognition in cell-imprinted polymers. ACS Nano 6:4314–4318.
Schirhagl, R., Hall, E. W., Fuereder, I., and Zare, R. N. 2012. Separation of bacteria with imprinted polymeric films. Analyst 137:1495–1499.
Schirhagl, R., Ren, K., and Zare, R. N. 2012. Surface-imprinted polymers in microfluidic devices. Science China Chemistry 55:1–15.