Srivastava Lab

Research

Research in our group utilizes molecular design and self-assembly of mesoscopic building blocks to engineer novel soft materials with unique combinations of features desired for real-world applications. Our work focuses on first principles studies of the influence of various non-covalent intermolecular interactions on the structure and properties of molecular self-assembly. The overarching theme of our research is to understand and modulate natural and artificial self-assembly to create smart materials.

Fundamentals of Complex Coacervates

Polyelectrolyte complex coacervates are unique polymer-rich materials that are versatile yet poorly understood. Our works aims on creating a fundamental understanding of the phase behavior, structure, kinetics and rheology of these materials, with a special emphasis on the role of small ions in influencing the phase behavior and properties of the complexes. To this end, we envision elucidating the effects of various system parameters in our studies, including polymer architecture, length and charge density, small ion nature and concentration, and solvent effects.


Selected Relevant Publications:

Phase Behavior and Salt Partitioning in Polyelectrolyte Complex Coacervates, L. Li, S. Srivastava,* M. Andreev, A. Marciel, J. J. de Pablo and M. V. Tirrell, Macromolecules 51, 2988 (2018). [PDF]

Structure and Rheology of Polyelectrolyte Complex Coacervates, A. Marciel,^ S. Srivastava,*^ and M. V. Tirrell, Soft Matter 14, 2454 (2018). [PDF]

Polyelectrolyte Complexation, S. Srivastava and M. V. Tirrell, Advances in Chemical Physics 161, 499 (2016). [PDF]

Charge-driven self-assemblies

Electrostatic interactions drive self-assembly in unique ways. Multi-component droplets and hybrid structures thus formed can spontaneously partition a variety of charged molecules, big and small, including small ions, nucleic acids (DNA, RNA), proteins and enzymes. Research in our group endeavors to understand and harness these processes to create efficient micro- and nano-scale encapsulants and biomolecular reactors.

Selected Relevant Publications:

Partitioning and Enhanced Self-Assembly of Actin in Polypeptide Coacervates, P. M. McCall,^ S. Srivastava,^ S. L. Perry, D L. Kovar, M. L. Gardel and M. V. Tirrell, Biophysical Journal 114, 1636–1645 (2018). [PDF]

Molecular Engineering Solutions for Therapeutic Peptide Delivery, H. Acar, Jeffrey. M. Ting, S. Srivastava, J. L. LaBelle and M. V. Tirrell, Chemical Society Reviews 46, 6553 (2017). [PDF]

Self-Assembling Peptide-Based Building Blocks in Medical Applications, H. Acar, S. Srivastava, E. Chung, M. R. Schnorenberg, J. C. Barrett, J. L. LaBelle and M. V. Tirrell, Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews 110-111, 65 (2017). [PDF]

Polyelectrolyte Complexation, S. Srivastava and M. V. Tirrell, Advances in Chemical Physics 161, 499 (2016). [PDF]

multifunctional Micelles & hydrogels

Micelles and hydrogels form upon nano-scale phase separation. Driven by hydrophobic interactions, polyelectrolyte complexation and other non-covalent intermolecular interactions (and combinations thereof), these materials are employed in a range of biomedical applications including theranostic agents, vehicles for drug and gene delivery and tissue sealants, adhesives, and growth-supporting scaffolds. Our research focuses on inferring the role of molecular architecture and driving forces on the nanoscale as well as bulk structure and properties of these materials, intending to create modular materials design platforms to serve emerging biomedical applications.

Selected Relevant Publications:

Gel Phase Formation in Dilute Triblock Copolyelectrolyte Complexes, S. Srivastava, M. Andreev, A. E. Levi, D. J. Goldfeld, J. Mao, W. T. Heller, V. Prabhu, J. J. de Pablo and M. V. Tirrell, Nature Communications 8, 14131 (2017). [PDF]

Molecular Engineering Solutions for Therapeutic Peptide Delivery, H. Acar, Jeffrey. M. Ting, S. Srivastava, J. L. LaBelle and M. V. Tirrell, Chemical Society Reviews 46, 6553 (2017). [PDF]

Polyelectrolyte Complexation, S. Srivastava and M. V. Tirrell, Advances in Chemical Physics 161, 499 (2016). [PDF]