Since publishing our original artificial cell dynamics paper in Science in 2003, more and more research is being done in this area and many different types of approaches are offering incredible promise. We are currently developing several distinct types of artificial cells in the laboratory, based on lipid bilayer interfaces and droplet-based emulsions. Several life-like characteristics are explored including self-movement, self-division, biochemical transformation, group dynamics and self-identity. In parallel with developing new artificial cell technologies we are exploring the use of artificial cells in natural cell ecologies such as microbial fuel cells and in conjunction with robotic interfaces.
We are interested in both the stability and dynamics of supramolecular structures, starting from simple single chain amphiphiles to sophisticated phospholipids decorated with interactive and programmable structures. We primarily develop and analyze these structures using fluorescent microscopy, high throughput techniques, flow cytometry and tensiometry. Some of our research is directed towards origins of life study and others are directed towards programmable matter and emergent technologies.