Research

Image showing fluorescent bacteria colonies

Overview

The central aim of the Renner Research Group is to develop biomolecular platforms to control solid-liquid interfaces and thin film assemblies. In doing so, we are enabling a new generation of technologies with applications in implantable devices, sensors, water treatment and renewable energy.  

Current Research Areas

Resource Recovery from Waste Streams

We are studying the emerging role of engineered peptides in resource recovery from waste streams. Peptides are gaining attention for use in resource recovery, because they can be highly specific, are environmentally friendly, highly tunable, and have the potential for high-yield and efficient recovery. 

Our group is currently investigating the the recovery of nitrogen and phosphorus by precipitation with magnesium to form a slow release fertilizer called struvite and the effects peptides can have on this process.

In addition, our lab is investigating the use of peptides in biosorption, a process that removes substances from the aqueous phase by biological materials, to recover rare earth elements (REEs)

See our latest presentations and webinars on resource recovery of REEs, nitrogen and phosphorous 

 

Peptide Self-Assembled Monolayers for Controlled Biointerfaces

Peptide-modified solid surfaces have high potential to serve in tailored multi-functional SAMs because peptides are: 

  • easily tunable
  • possess controllable, ordered secondary structures
  • self-assemble into a variety of structures via different interactions
  • biocompatible

Our goal is to advance the field of surface modification through a kinetic, thermodynamic, and structural understanding of how peptides assemble on solid substrates and impact surface properties.

See our latest presentations on peptide self-assembled monolayers

 

 

Self-assembled Templates for Controlled Organization of Electrode Components 

We are developing innovative engineered polypeptide materials which assemble electrode components into favorable configurations. This technology could lead to more efficient utilization of catalysts in fuel cell and electrolysis systems.

See our latest presentations on polypeptide controlled electrode assembly

 

 

Green Ammonia Production

We have collaborated on a number of projects to make green ammonia using electricity. 

See our latest presentations on green ammonia production