Prof. Vijay Balasubramanian's research includes studies of structural and functional organization of the retina with multi-electrode arrays that record retinal ganglion cells. He also studies computational principles that underlie the organization of circuits in the early visual system.

Reflective Self-Assembling Proteins

Prof. Alison Sweeney studies the biophysical properties of reflectin - a highly reflective and self-organizing squid protein found in cephalopods like the Hawaiian Bobtail squid shown here.


Dark Energy Survey Camera

The focal plane of the DEcam - the camera for the Dark Energy Survey.

Nanoscale Electronic Nose

Prof. Charlie Johnson's group at Penn have coupled olfactory receptor proteins from mice to carbon nanotubes to create a prototype electronic nose. Olfactory receptors are embedded in nanodiscs that mimic the environment of the olfactory cell membrane.  Odorant molecules bind to the receptor, which produces an electrical response in the carbon nanotube (gray cylinder).


Protein Design

Penn researchers including Penn physicists Marija Drndic and Jay Kikkawa have designed  specialized protein molecules that organize around carbon nanotubes into an atomistically-predefined pattern. Targeted design of such self-organization is a powerful tool for engineering at the nano scale.