BE Seminar – Kolbe Ahn, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor, UCF)

Speaker: Kolbe Ahn, Ph.D.
Affiliation: Department of Chemistry and Materials Science Engineering

Design of bioinspired soft materials and their biomedical applications

Nature employs sophisticated control of structural properties at multiple length scales to obtain its unique adhesion properties.
However, the translation of such structures has very often beenmissing in biomimetic adhesives, in turn, their performance is significantly limited as compared to biological adhesion, e.g., from mussels. Mussels have the amazing ability to adhere firmly to wet surfaces. They do so by sending out sticky filaments, known as byssus, which allow them to stay anchored to rocks in the midst of pounding waves. For years, researchers have been striving to replicate mussels’adhesive properties in a laboratory setting, with a major focus on the functional group known as catechols, which are abundant in byssus and are comprised of benzene rings presenting vicinal hydroxyl groups that interact strongly with mineral surfaces, for example, via hydrogen and coordination bondings in a bidentate fashion. In this seminar, Dr. Kollbe Ahn corrects the widespread misconception on bioinspired wet adhesion and argues that focus on a single molecular entity is too narrow and has hampered efforts to emulate biomimetic adhesion for applications ranging from dental and medical to industrial applications. He makes the case that the mussels’ abilities rely on a host of other functional groups on proteins that work together to achieve strong and robust adhesion. He also introduces numerous recent advances that demonstrate a more holistic approach to biomimetic design, which may be key to future advances in the area of high-performance biomaterials. In this talk, he will also introduce wetbonding and antifouling technologies that have been successfully transferred through his UCSB-spun startup to the world-leading


Kollbe Ahn has received his PhD from Kansas State University. During the postdoc in the Materials Research Lab at the UCSB, I studied bioinspired polymers and surface science under Prof. Herbert Waite and late Prof. Jacob Israelachvili. and first documented the self-healing of rigid polymers in aqueous media mediated by catechol-dependent hydrogen bonding at damaged interfaces in addition to many reports about mussel-inspired self-assemblies and underwater adhesives. Currently, Kollbe Ahn is Assistant Professor at the University of Central Florida. His research group is internationally recognized for his works investigating catechol-mediated molecular design replicating unique properties of marine sessile organisms in synthetic materials including dynamic molecular interaction for self-healing and self-recoverable polymer networks for biomedical application. His study has led to a deeper understanding of the relationship between molecular compositions and interactions, which can be correlated to macroscopic mechanical properties.

Seminar Flyer_Kolbe Ahn


Date(s) - Nov 21, 2019
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


Engineering V, Room 2101
410 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles CA 90095

UCLA Bioengineering