Redox-Based Information Processing and Molecular Communication

Gregory F. Payne

Event Details
Thursday, April 11, 2019
4 p.m., Avery 115

3:30 p.m., Avery 348

Gregory F. Payne, Ph.D.

Professor, University of Maryland


Emerging research indicates that biology uses oxidation-reduction reactions (abbreviated “redox”) for molecular signaling. This redox signaling modality is especially important for communication: in the immune system; between biological systems (e.g., the gut-brain axis); and across biological kingdoms (e.g., the gut epithelium and microbiome). We are exploring the use of redox as a bioelectronics modality to access information from biology (e.g., for sensing) and to communicate with biology (e.g., to actuate biological responses). The unique aspect of our work is the recognition that this redox modality has electrical features that are readily accessible to convenient electrochemical measurements. We cite two recent examples that illustrate the use of redox for bio-device information-processing and communication. The first example is the use of mediated electrochemical probing to discern signatures of oxidative stress from the serum for persons diagnosed with schizophrenia.1 The second example is the use of redox mediators to induce gene expression for a synthetic biology construct re-wired to recognize mediator-imposed stresses and respond by synthesizing a bacterial signaling molecule.2 In summary, we believe redox provides the opportunity for simple, rapid and portable electrochemical measurements to bridge bio-device communication.

1. Kang et. al. Signal processing approach to probe chemical space for discriminating redox signatures. Biosensors and Bioelectronics 112: 127 (2018).
2. Tschirhart et. al. Electronic control of gene expression and cell behaviour in Escherichia coli through redox signaling. Nature Communications 8: 14030 (2017).

Speaker Bio

Greg Payne did his B.S./M.S./PhD and postdoctoral training at Cornell University and The University of Michigan, and is a Professor at the University of Maryland. His group does research at the intersection of material science, biology and information sciences, and he is currently Principal Investigator of a prestigious Materials Genome Initiative project awarded by the National Science Foundation with the aim of understanding how to integrate biology and electronics. His work is internationally recognized by invitations to be keynote speaker at several scientific conferences and he currently holds Guest or Chair Professor positions at several universities around the world.