Neha Kamat Artificial cell/protocell models, membrane biophysics, emergent behaviors from synthetic membranes, membrane stress-sensing

Research Interests

Cell membranes define the boundary of the smallest unit of life, the cell. These membranes dictate a variety of sensing and signaling processes that drive cellular behaviors. We build models of cellular membranes using a variety of natural and non-natural amphiphiles like phospholipids, fatty acids, and diblock copolymers. Using these models, we study how membrane composition affects the biophysical properties of membranes and how emergent behaviors arise from mixtures of amphiphiles and genetic polymers.

Artificially constructed membranes serve as a platform to explore how plasma membrane composition (proteins, lipids, oligosaccharides) affects membrane protein function, to design new types of materials that can mimic the responsive behaviors of cells for biotechnology applications, and to provide insight into fundamental physical and chemical processes related to the origins of life.

Selected Publications

Copying of Mixed-Sequence RNA Templates inside Model Protocells. O'Flaherty DK, Kamat NP, Mirza FN, Li L, Prywes N, and Szostak JW. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2018 April 18;140(15):5171-5178.

Electrostatic Localization of RNA to Protocell Membranes by Cationic Hydrophobic PeptidesKamat NP, Tobé S, Hill IT, and Szostak JW. Angewandte Chemie. 2015 September 28;54(40):11735-11739.

Construction of a liposome dialyzer for the preparation of high-value, small-volume liposome formulations. Adamala K, Engelhart AE, Kamat NP, Jin L, and Szostak JW. Nature Protocols. 2015 June;10(6):927-938.

Sensing membrane stress with near IR-emissive porphyrinsKamat NP, Liao Z, Moses LE, Rawson J, Therien MJ, Dmochowski IJ, and Hammer DA. PNAS. 2011 August 23;108(34):13984-13989.

Engineering Polymersome ProtocellsKamat NP, Katz JS, and Hammer DA. Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters. 2011 July 7;2(13):1612-1623.

View all publications by Neha Kamat in the National Library of Medicine (PubMed).