Jeremiah Gassensmith

Assistant Professor – Chemistry & Biochemistry
Affiliate Faculty - Bioengineering
gassensmith@utdallas.edu
972-883-3596
BSB 11.562
Lab website
ORCID
Tags: Biochemistry and Chemical Biology Materials and Polymers Organic Chemistry Bionanosciences

Professional Preparation

Postdoctoral Fellow - Nanotechnology
Northwestern University - 2013
Ph.D. - Chemistry
University of Notre Dame - 2009
B.S. (Hons) - Chemistry
Indiana University - 2003

Research Areas

Nanomedicine
The synthesis of small, hollow and well-defined structures on the order of 20-500 nm is a challenge when their application depends on ensuring both structural integrity as well as a narrow diameter profile. Our group aims to exploit the well-defined structure of hollow viral capsids as templates for these materials and explore their function within biological systems as therapeutic as well as diagnostic agents. For instance, we have shown that tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) can be encapsulated inside a shell of zeolitic imidazolate framework ZIF-8 (a type of metal-organic framework), which protects the rod-shaped virus inside from organic solvents and high temperatures. The ZIF-8 shell itself is highly porous, which permits chemical modification of the amino acids on the surface of the virus, even when it is encapsulated within the protective shell. In principle, this allows for the virus to retain functionality while shielding it from, for instance, recognition by the immune system.
Stimuli Responsive Behavior
Manipulation of materials at the nanoscale depends upon being able to affect them using extant sources like magnetic fields, redox chemistry, light, local pH, or heat. We aim to create materials that respond predictably and selectively to these external forces causing a change in structure and the production of useful work. For instance, we have been integrating light-responsive behavior into viral capsids to release drugs within cells. Our interests even extend to thermal actuation of molecular single crystals and turn-on or turn-off responses for in vivo or in vitro molecular probes.
Self-Assembly of Bio-Dielecrics
Application-based research on the different allotropes of carbon over the past decade has been staggering as these materials offer ways to shrink electronic devices, strengthen materials, and improve the properties of both semiconductors and conductors. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs), for instance, have interesting electrochemical properties, but in their production, mixtures of metallic and semiconducting CNTs of differing chiralities form, and economic methods of processing them have proved a barrier to commercial applications. We aim to study non-covalent methods of modifying CNTs to meet these goals by employing well-established principles of self-assembly to this new area of research.   

Publications

Growth of ZIF-8 on molecularly ordered 2-methylimidazole/single-walled carbon nanotubes to form highly porous, electrically conductive composites 2019 - Journal Article
Protein–Polymer Delivery: Chemistry from the Cold Chain to the Clinic 2018 - Journal Article
Investigation of Controlled Growth of Metal–Organic Frameworks on Anisotropic Virus Particles 2018 - Journal Article
Metal–Organic Frameworks for Cell and Virus Biology: A Perspective 2018 - Journal Article
Biodegradable 3D printed polymer microneedles for transdermal drug delivery 2018 - Journal Article
Biodegradable 3D printed polymer microneedles for transdermal drug delivery 2018 - Journal Article
Nitroxyl Modified Tobacco Mosaic Virus as a Metal-Free High-Relaxivity MRI and EPR Active Superoxide Sensor 2018 - Journal Article
Regulating the Uptake of Viral Nanoparticles in Macrophage and Cancer Cells by via a pH Switch 2018 - Journal Article
Rock the nucleus: Significantly enhanced nuclear membrane permeability and gene transfection by plasmonic nanobubble induced nanomechanical transduction 2018 - Journal Article
Rock the nucleus: significantly enhanced nuclear membrane permeability and gene transfection by plasmonic nanobubble induced nanomechanical transduction 2018 - Journal Article

Awards

Career Award - National Science Foundation [2017]
Faculty Teaching Award - School of Natural Sciences & Mathematics [2015]

News Articles

UT Dallas Scientists Study the Powers of Tiny Crystals
When it comes to the way scientists react to their discoveries, “That’s interesting” falls somewhere between “Eureka!” and “Uh-oh.”

“Interesting” is just what Dr. Jeremiah Gassensmith and his graduate student Madushani Dharmarwardana thought when they noticed unusual behavior in a sample of crystals they were working with in Gassensmith’s chemistry lab at The University of Texas at Dallas.

As part of her doctoral research, Dharmarwardana was investigating how the material, from a family of organic semiconducting materials called naphthalene diimides, changes color from orange to yellow as it is heated.
Chemistry Team Works to Make Medicines Go Viral with New NSF Grant
Over time, viruses have evolved very efficient methods for making us sick, but a UT Dallas researcher thinks that same efficiency could be exploited to improve human health.

Dr. Jeremiah Gassensmith, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, recently received a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation to investigate the use of viruses for precisely delivering therapeutic drugs to the body.  

The five-year, $500,000 grant supports work that is a continuation of research originally done by two doctoral students in Gassensmith’s lab — Zhuo Chen and Candace Benjamin. Both will play lead roles in the new project.
Recipients of NSM Teaching Awards Go the Extra Mile for Students
When UT Dallas students in an analytical chemistry class complained that the labs were too boring, course instructor Dr. Jeremiah Gassensmith turned the tables on them.

“I said, ‘Make me an awesome lab and I’ll integrate it into the course,’ ” said Gassensmith, an assistant professor of chemistry.

The undergraduates responded by creating an experiment in which they hack the ingredients of impostor fragrances using a technique called mass spectroscopy and a database of known chemical compounds.

Affiliations

Editorial Advisory Board of WIRES Nanomedicine and Nanobiotechnology
2018–Present
Associate Member of the Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center UT Southwestern
2017–Present
Co-Director of the Molecular and Protein Analysis Core (MoPAC) at the University of Texas Dallas
2016–Present
Review Editor of Frontiers in Energy: Carbon Capture, Storage, and Utilization
2014–Present