EventsProf. Gonen Ashkenasy

Self-Synthesizing Peptide-based Materials

One of the main challenges in contemporary Systems Chemistry research is establishing how interactions and coordinated functions in molecular networks give rise to emergent properties. Recently, while looking for such complex network-dependent behavior, we have disclosed the self-synthesizing materials (SSMs), which promote their own formation by accelerating synthesis of their own building blocks or the assembly of their super-structures. The SSMs offer models for understanding how molecular assemblies and cellular machineries had emerged in the origin of life, perhaps one of the most fascinating scientific questions. In line with this research, we have recently described the first peptide-based SSMs, driven by fibril self-assembly and reproduction [1-3]. We now present a new research direction aiming at the design of functional SSMs and their structure-activity characterization. The following topics will accordingly be discussed: (i) Regio-selective and stereo-selective b-sheet induced replication,[4] (ii) Coupling replication and substrate metabolism within a single network,[5] and (iii) Self-assembly and self-replication of charge-transport fibrils [6,7].

  1. Rubinov, N. Wagner, H. Rapaport, G. Ashkenasy Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2009, 48, 6683.
  2. Rubinov, N. Wagner, M. Matmor, O. Regev, N. Ashkenasy, G. Ashkenasy ACS nano, 2012, 6, 7893.
  3. Raz, B. Rubinov, M. Matmor, H. Rapaport, G. Ashkenasy, Y. Miller Chem. Commun. 2013, 49, 6561.
  4. Nanda, B. Rubinov, D. Ivnitski, R. Mukherjee, E. Shtelman, Y. Motro, Y. Miller, N. Wagner, R. Cohen-Luria, G. Ashkenasy Nature Commun. 2017, 8, 434.
  5. Tena-Solsona, J. Nanda, S. Díaz-Oltra, A. Chotera, G. Ashkenasy, B. Escuder Chem. Eur. J. 2016, 22, 6687.
  6. Ivnitski, M. Amit, B. Rubinov, R. Cohen-Luria, N. Ashkenasy, G. Ashkenasy Chem. Commun. 2014, 50, 6733.
  7. D. Ivnitski, M. Amit, O. Silberbush, Y. Atsmon-Raz, J. Nanda, R. Cohen-Luria, Y. Miller, G. Ashkenasy, N. Ashkenasy Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2016, 55, 9988.

About The Speaker


Prof. Gonen Ashkenasy received a PhD in organic chemistry from the Weizmann Institute at 2002, and then conducted a postdoctoral research at the Scripps Research Institute (CA, USA). Since 2006 he runs an independent research group in Ben Gurion University (Israel), focusing on the study of molecular replication networks as tools to develop and investigate complex chemical systems. In 2011, Ashkenasy was promoted to tenured Associate Professor, and in 2015 to Professor of Chemistry. Ashkenasy is the vice-chair of the COST action CM1304 focusing on the ‘Emergence and Evolution of Complex Chemical Systems’, the founder and chair of the ‘Safra centre for Biopolymer Design’, and the Head of the Chemistry Department in Ben Gurion University.