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Molecular ‘hats’ allow in vivo activation of disguised signaling peptides

When someone you know is wearing an unfamiliar hat, you might not recognize them. researchers are using just such a disguise to sneak biomaterials containing peptide signaling molecules into living animals.

[Light-Activated Peptide]
Researchers have developed a technique for activating biological signals through the skin of a living animal using light. In this illustration, ultraviolet light is shining through a pattern, initiating fluorescence in the biomaterial implanted in a biomaterial located under the skin of a living animal.
Credit: Credit: GarcĂ­a Laboratory at


In addition to those already mentioned, the research involved Ankur Singh, Edward Phelps and from Georgia Tech, and Julieta Paez, Simone Weis and from the Max-Planck Institute. Lee now works for Dexcom, a San Diego-based company that focuses on continuous glucose monitoring systems for use by people with diabetes, and Singh is currently an assistant professor at Cornell University.

The research was supported by the Materials World Network Program of the under grants DFG AOBJ 569628 and NSF DMR-0909002, by the under grants R01-AR062368 and R01-AR062920, and by the NIH Cell and Tissue NIH Biotechnology Training Grant T32-GM008433. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Science Foundation or the .

CITATION: Lee, Ted, et al., “Light-triggered in vivo Activation of Adhesive Peptides Regulates Cell Adhesion, Inflammation and Vascularization of Biomaterials,” Nature Materials 2014.

Georgia Institute of Technology