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NSF BioPACIFIC MIP

BioPolymers, Automated Cellular Infrastructure, Flow, and Integrated Chemistry Materials Innovation Platform (BioPACIFIC MIP)

Platform

A one of a kind user facility dedicated to creating a nexus for synthetic biology and materials to revolutionize high-performance polymers.

About the Platform

BioPolymers, Automated Cellular Infrastructure, Flow, and Integrated Chemistry Materials Innovation Platform (BioPACIFIC MIP) is a platform dedicated to scalable production of bio-derived building blocks and polymers from yeast, fungi and bacteria. Automated high-throughput synthesis and characterization of bio-derived polymers aims to accelerate discovery and speed development of new high-performance materials.

The NSF BioPACIFIC MIP operates a one of a kind user facility dedicated to creating a nexus for synthetic biology and materials to revolutionize high-performance polymers. Users are uniquely able to elucidate biomaterial structure and function to achieve materials-by-design, construct new bio-derived functional monomers from living organisms, access novel sequence-specific materials (e.g. peptoids), synthesize stimuli-responsive “smart” biomaterials, scale-up biomaterial production, and incorporate state-of-the-art field-theoretic simulation and machine learning algorithms. The bulk of the platform activity is devoted to the design and development of unique automated materials synthesis and characterization capabilities with the realization that these tools address a major gap in the US mid-scale and large-scale instrumentation portfolio available to engineers and scientists in this country. In all cases, this platform is made possible by the unique and collective expertise of the BioPACIFIC faculty and staff. BioPACIFIC facilities are open to all US scientists via a reviewed User Proposal process.

Mission

Advances in synthetic biology are enabling the scalable and sustainable production of non-petroleum-based monomers and the identification of conditions that lead to economical in cellulo polymerization. Similarly, advances in synthetic chemistry now utilize a broad range of functional monomers in controlled polymer synthesis.

The NSF BioPACIFIC MIP (DMR-1933487) aims to merge these new realities by providing access to scientific expertise, multiscale computation and simulation for forward and inverse design, physical bio-sourced monomer libraries and digital pathways libraries, and advanced instrumentation capabilities. BioPACIFIC enables data-driven discovery and scalable production of bio-derived building blocks and polymers from yeast, fungi and bacteria, and the conversion of these blocks into next-generation polymers with properties and performance far exceeding those currently available in materials produced through traditional petrochemical-based methods.

BioPACIFIC delivers education and training in automated synthetic biology, chemical synthesis, and advanced biomaterials characterization to users and potential users, while promoting diversity and inclusion at all organizational levels and in all aspects of operation.

User Program

The BioPACIFIC MIP aims to leverage a strong tradition of creating, operating, and maintaining open-access facilities at UCLA and UCSB that enable transformative research. Envisaged as more than a suite of technical resources, BioPACIFIC: (1) seeks to integrate internal, external, expert, and novice users alike into the mission of discovery of new bioderived materials, and (2) emphasizes intellectual capital, technique know-how, and collaborative spirit in connecting users to the tools and the researchers of the MIP.

UCLA Hub

The UCLA hub of the BioPACIFIC MIP enables users to accelerate the discovery and scale-up production of bio-derived building blocks and biopolymers using a robotic and automated Living Bioreactor system for gene assembly, amplification, transformation, strain growth, and metabolite analysis. A mineable data library of biosynthetic pathways is under development and will be made available to users. Users also have access to the BioPACIFIC MIP’s first of its kind Cryo-EM microcrystal electron diffraction (MicroED) system that provides accelerated 2D and 3D structure determination of small molecules, peptides/peptoids, and semi-crystalline polymers.

UCSB Hub

The UCSB hub of the BioPACIFIC MIP enables users to complete the Design-Build-Test-Learn cycle for novel bio-derived polymers by providing access to advanced simulation tools for flexible, inverse design. Automated synthetic and flow chemistry equipment suites, coupled to a dedicated library of monomers, allows rapid structure-property determination via next-generation X-Ray scattering characterization and high-throughput micro-rheology. Additive manufacturing tools accommodate both user-designed and in-house building blocks to facilitate next-generation materials discovery and advanced constructs.