Soft Matter Seminar: Nanoparticle Composites from Cellulose, Wool, Hair and Chicken Feathers: Synthesis and Applications for Purifying Drinking Water and Healing Infected Wounds

Prof. Chieu Tran, Department of Chemistry, Marquette University

A novel and facile method has been developed for the synthesis of composite materials from polysaccharides (cellulose and chitosan) and proteins (keratin from wool, hair and chicken feathers), where a simple ionic liquid (butylmethylimidazolium chloride, BMIm+Cl-) is used as the sole solvent. All of the BMIm+Cl- used is recovered for reuse, making this a recyclable, green method of synthesis. The resulting composites retain the properties of their components, namely superior mechanical strength and excellent adsorption capability for pollutants and toxins. More importantly, the composites are biocompatible and exhibit antimicrobial activity against a variety of bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant bacteria (e.g., Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), S. aureus, and E. coli). They are hemostatic and heal wounds. Unique property of the composites enables them to be used in applications such as purifying drinking water and high-performance dressings to treat ulcerous wounds in diabetic patients.  Our recent efforts to extend the capabilities of the composites include encapsulating metal nanoparticles, such as silver, gold and copper oxide nanoparticles, into the composites. The nanoparticle composites obtained were found to be biocompatible and exhibit excellent antimicrobial activity against a wide range of bacteria and fungi as well as inhibiting the growth of microbial biofilms.

Friday, November 2, 2018 at 11:00am to 12:30pm

Regents Hall, 351
3700 O St. NW

Event Type

Academic Events


Students, Faculty/Staff


Georgetown College, Physics, Institute for Soft Matter Synthesis and Metrology




Prof. Chieu Tran, Department of Chemistry, Marquette University

Event Contact Name

Richard Weiss

Event Contact Email

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