Seminario Mezzenga ETH

Lipidic Mesophases: fundamentals and applications

Tuesday, 28 June, 2022

Luciano Galantini is pleased to invite you to the seminar

Lipidic Mesophases: fundamentals and applications

Raffaele Mezzenga

Department of Health Sciences and Technology e Department of Materials dell'ETH di Zurigo

The seminar will be held in Sala Parravano - S. Cannizzaro building (CU014), floor I - Monday 18th July at 11.00

It can be followed in person or remotely on the Google Meet platform (link available soon)



Amphiphilic lipids aggregate in aqueous solution into a variety of structural arrangements. Among the plethora of ordered structures that have been reported, many have also been observed in nature. In addition, due to their unique morphologies, the hydrophilic and hydrophobic domains, very high internal interfacial surface area, and the multitude of possible order−order transitions depending on environmental changes, very promising applications have been developed for these systems in recent years. These include crystallization in inverse bicontinuous cubic phases for membrane protein structure determination, generation of advanced materials, sustained release of bioactive molecules, and control of chemical reactions. The outstanding diverse functionalities of lyotropic liquid crystalline phases found in nature and industry are closely related to the topology, including how their nanoscopic domains are organized. This leads to notable examples of correlation between structure and macroscopic properties, which is itself central to the performance of materials in general. The physical origin of the formation of the known classes of lipidic lyotropic liquid crystalline phases, their structure, and their occurrence in nature are described, and their application in materials science and engineering, biology, medical, and pharmaceutical products, and food science and technology are exemplified.

In this lecture I will illustrate the fundamentals of lipid self-assembly into mesophases, their analogies and differences with block copolymers, their physical properties and their range of applications from food to water crystallization nanoconfinement and cryo-enzymatic reactions.

References: R Mezzenga, JM Seddon, CJ Drummond, BJ Boyd, GE Schröder-Turk, and L Sagalowicz. Nature-Inspired Design and Application of Lipidic Lyotropic Liquid Crystals. Adv. Mater. 2019, 31, 1900818


Raffaele Mezzenga

Raffaele Mezzenga received his PhD from EPFL Lausanne in 2001 and spent 2001-2002 as a postdoctoral scientist at University of California, Santa Barbara, working on the self-assembly of polymer colloids. In 2003 he moved to the Nestlé Research Center in Lausanne as research scientist, working on the self-assembly of surfactants, natural amphiphiles and lyotropic liquid crystals. In 2005 he was hired as Associate Professor in the Physics Department of the University of Fribourg, and he then joined ETH Zurich on 2009 as Full Professor. His research focuses on the fundamental understanding of self-assembly processes in polymers, lyotropic liquid crystals, food and biological colloidal systems. Prof. Mezzenga has been recipient of several national and international distinctions such as the 2011 AOCS Young Scientist Research Award, the 2013 Dillon Medal and the 2017 Fellowship of the American Physical Society, the Biomacromolecules/Macromolecules 2013 Young Investigator Award of the American Chemical Society, the 2004 Swiss Science National Foundation Professorship Award and the 2018 Spark Award.


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