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Research Seminar of Prof. Li Hongbin from University of British
Research Seminar of Prof. Li Hongbin from University of British Columbia


Lecture Time: 14:30 on 10th October, 2018

Lecture Room: C501 of Science and Innovation Building

Lecture Title: Mechanical Engineering of Protein-based Biomaterials: from single molecule features to macroscopic traits


Prof. Li Hongbin

University of British Columbia



Elastomeric proteins function as molecular springs in their biological settings to establish elastic connections, and provide mechanical strength, elasticity and extensibility. To fulfill their biological functions, elastomeric proteins have evolved to assume different structures, from simple random coil-like structure to more sophisticated beads-on-a-string conformation, and exhibit distinct mechanical properties. The development of single molecule force spectroscopy techniques has made it possible to directly probe the mechanical properties of such elastomeric proteins at the single molecule level and allowed to understand molecular design principles of these complex protein polymers. This knowledge has enabled us to engineer novel elastomeric proteins to achieve tailored and well-defined nanomechanical properties. Going a step further, we have started to employ these novel elastomeric proteins as building blocks to construct protein-based biomaterials, which in turn provide an ideal system to understand how single molecule nanomechanical features are translated into biomechanical properties of macroscopic materials. These studies will pave the way to utilizing proteins as building blocks to engineer new generations of protein-based biomaterials for diverse applications in biomedical engineering as well as material sciences.



1. Lv, S., Dudek, D.M., Cao, Y., Balamurali, M.M., Gosline, J. & Li, H. Nature, 465, 69-73 (2010)

2. Li, H. and Cao, Y., Acc. Chem. Res. 43, 1331-1341 (2010).

3. Fang, J., Mehlich, A., Koga, N., Huang, J., Koga, R., Gao, X., Hu, C., Jin, C., Rief, M., Kast, J., Baker, D., Li, H. Nature Commun., 4, 2974 (2013).

4. Kong, N., Peng, Q. and Li, H., Adv. Funct. Mater. 24, 7310–7317 (2014).

5. Gao, X., Fang, J., Xue, B., Fu, L. and Li, H. Biomacromolecules, 17, 2812?2819 (2016).




09/1993-12/1998 Ph. D., Polymer Chemistry and Physics, Jilin University, P. R. China

09/1996 –09/1997 Joint training Ph.D. student, University of Munich, Germany

09/1989-07/1993 B. S., Polymer Engineering; Minor: Technical Economy and Management, Tianjin University, P. R. China

Professional Experience

07/2013-present Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of British Columbia, Canada

10/2004-09/2014 Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Molecular Nanoscience and Protein Engineering, Department of Chemistry, University of British Columbia, Canada

07/2009-06/2013 Associate Professor with tenure, Department of Chemistry, University of British Columbia, Canada

08/2004-06/2009 Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of British Columbia, Canada

08/2002-08/2004 Associate Research Scientist, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.

01/1999-08/2002 Research Fellow, Mayo Medical Center, Rochester, MN, USA


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