The Fichman lab focuses on advanced bioinspired materials for food and healthcare applications. The research in our lab is at the interface of chemistry, biology, bionanotechnology, and materials science, where we exploit the self-assembly process to develop functional peptide-based materials and characterize them at the nano-, micro-, and macro-scale. Specifically, to develop healthier food products, we aim to design innovative food gels and study how to control the gel’s texture by modifying its composition and structure to improve nutrition without affecting sensory perception. Also, we aim to improve the mechanical properties of gel materials for advanced applications such as edible packaging and cultured and plant-based meat. Another area of research is the encapsulation and targeted delivery of nutrients. For example, encapsulating active ingredients within a gel matrix could protect the substance from degradation and enhance its absorption by allowing targeted delivery at a desired site along the gastrointestinal tract.
Additionally, our lab focuses on studying bacteria-materials interactions. We seek to better understand the gel properties that affect bacterial growth. We intend to exploit material properties that promote bacterial growth to improve the encapsulation and delivery of probiotics. Further, we will take advantage of material properties that contribute to bacterial killing to develop innovative antibacterial materials for the food industry and biomedical applications.