Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Chemical and Biomedical Engineering

Committee Chair

Cerasela Zoica Dinu

Committee Co-Chair

Charter Stinespring

Committee Member

Charter Stinespring

Committee Member

John Zondlo

Committee Member

Xueyan Song

Committee Member

Yon Rojanasakul


Manipulation of cellular components in synthetic environment has attracted interest for applications ranging from sensors to nanelectronics and from catalysis to biomedical devices. In such applications, biological-based processes such as specific recognition and self-assembly direct the formation of hierarchical structures, all at minimum energetic costs, with high efficiency and reliability.

Among such cellular machines, microtubules and kinesins have attracted special interest. Inside the cells, microtubules are giving structural integrity while serving as regular and uniform tracks for transport of vesicles or organelles. Kinesin uses a microtubule track in vivo to progress to specific locations with processive and coordinated steps, all under the transformation of the chemical cycle of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) into mechanical work. Manipulation of microtubules and kinesins in vitro has been implemented for the transport of synthetic cargos like beads, nanoparticles or quantum dots to specific locations for molecular detection or diagnosis. However, in such applications, individual separation of a microtubule or kinesin-based complex, or parallel and yet individual sustainability and attainability of such complexes, could not be achieved. Main challenges consisted of biological components susceptibility to experimental conditions or lack of stability and complexity of tasks to be achieved under ambient temperature and pressure conditions.

This thesis presents novel concepts and implementations of such cellular components in engineered environments. From studying single molecule assembly forces using atomic force microscopy approaches, to synthesizing novel self-assembled hybrid materials combining advantages of organic and inorganic components, and from application of cellular components in nanoelectronics or as the next generation tools for single molecule printing, the work included offers viable solutions for emerging science and engineering concepts that promote natural-based processes for synthetic applications.