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Mehmet Sarikaya

Faculty Photo

Materials Science & Engineering

Adjunct Professor
Chemical Engineering

Adjunct Professor
Oral Health Sciences


While at the University of Washington department of Materials Science & Engineering, Professor Sarikaya created the new interdisciplinary field of Molecular Biomimetics in which solid binding peptides are first selected by combinatorial mutagenesis and then designed bioinformatically or rationally mutated to have molecular recognition and self assembly characteristics so that they can be used as molecular linkers, self-assemblers and synthetizers (tiny enzymes), versatile utility in nanotechnology and nanomedicine.

Professor Sarikaya has served as reviewer of panels and proposals including NSF, NIH, DOE, ARO, DARPA, and AFOSR and journals such as Langmuir, Nature, Science, Nanoletters, Nanoscience & Nanotechnology, Nature-Mater., and J. Mater. Res.

Books, proceedings, and journal special issues he has edited include:

  • Resolution in the Microscope, M. Sarikaya (Guest Ed.) Special issue of Ultramicroscopy, 47 [1-3] 1-307 (North-Holland, Amsterdam, 1992).
  • Hierarchically Structured Materials, Proc. MRS Symp., Vol. 255 I. A. Aksay, E. Baer, M. Sarikaya, and D. A. Tirrell (Eds.) (Materials Research Society Fall Meeting, Boston, 1992) pp. 1-447.
  • Determining Nanoscale Physical Properties of Materials by Microscopy and Spectroscopy, Proc. of Materials Research Society Symposium, Vol. 332, edited by M. Sarikaya, K. Wickramasinghe, and M. Isaacson (Materials Research Society, Pittsburgh, 1994) (approx. 700 pages).
  • Microscopy of Self Assembled Materials and Biomimetics, Special Issue of J. Electron Microscopy Techniques and Research, 27 [5] 359-467 M. Sarikaya (Guest Ed.) (Wiley-Ross, New York, 1994).
  • Biomimetics: Design and Processing of Materials by Biomimicking, M. Sarikaya and I. A. Aksay (Eds.) (American Institute of Physics, New York, 1996) (300 pages).
  • Non-Conventional Concrete Technologies: Renewal of the Highway Infrastructure, National Research Council Report (National Academy Press, Washington., D.C., 1997). (ISBN 0-309-05687-X; PUBL. #: NMAB-484)
  • Reducing the Logistics Burden for the Army After Next, by the AAN-Log Committee, G. E. Galloway, Jr. et al., (M. Sarikaya, member) National Research Council (National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 1999) ISBN - 0-309-06378-7. (Published - May ‘99).
  • R. D. Leapman and M. Sarikaya, Guest editors, Special Issue on Towards Atomic Resolution Analysis, Micron, 30, 1-194 (Pergamon, London, U.K., 1999).


  • Ph.D. in Materials Science and Eng., University of California, Berkeley, CA, 1982
  • M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, CA, 1979
  • B.S. in Metallurgical Engineering, Middle East Technical Univ., Ankara, Turkey, 1977

Previous appointments

  • Visiting Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Mar 2013
  • Visiting Professor, Istanbul Technical University, 2002 – 2012
  • Visiting Professor, Princeton University, Jan 1993 – Oct 1993

Research Statement

Molecular Biomimetics: Genome-based Materials Science and Engineering

Physical and chemical functions of organisms are carried out by a large number of proteins and peptides through predictable and self-sustaining interactions. In Nature, biomolecule-material interaction is accomplished via molecular specificity and high efficiency leading to the formation and self-assembly of controlled functional constructs, structures, tissues, and systems at all scales of dimensional hierarchy. Through evolution, Mother Nature developed molecular recognition via successive cycles of mutation and selection.

Molecular specificities of probe-target interactions are all based on specific peptide-molecular recognition. With the recent developments of nanoscale engineering in physical sciences, and the advances in molecular biology, we are now able to combine genetic tools with synthetic nanoscale constructs, and create a hybrid methodology. In this approach, we use biology as a guide and adapt bioschemes including combinatorial biology, post-selection engineering, bioinformatics, and modeling to select and tailor short peptides (7-60 amino acids) with specific binding to and assembly on functional materials, e.g., metals, ceramics, and semiconductors. Based on the fundamental principles of genome-based design, molecular recognition, and self-assembly, we can now engineer peptides for inorganics and synthetic functional molecules as nucleators, catalyzers, growth modifiers, molecular linkers and erector sets, fundamental utilities for nano- and nanobio-technology. Our collaborative research group in this rapidly developing polydisciplinary field, focuses on:

  1. Genetic engineering of inorganic-binding polypeptides;
  2. Nature of binding, specificity and assembly of peptides on selective materials using experimental and theoretical tools (protein structure prediction);
  3. Multifunctional peptide-nanoparticle hybrid construct development; and iv. Biosynthesis and functional organization of hybrids using inorganic-binding peptides for photonic and medical applications.

Some of the focus areas of research include:

  • Combinatorial biology of peptides (via cell surface and phage display);
  • In vivo and in silico design of inorganic binding peptides;
  • Protein binding, structure and function (modeling, spectroscopy, & imaging);
  • Engineered evolution of proteins;
  • Self-assembly, directed assembly, co-ordinated assembly of nanoparticles and macromolecules;
  • Molecular erectors for nanobiotechnology;
  • Whole-tooth regeneration (enamel, dentin, & cementum); biological and biomimetics;
  • Bio-nanophotonics (harvesting nanophotonic effects for detecting molecular & NP targets);
  • Functional nanoparticle-peptide hybrid constructs for chemical & biological detection;
  • Materials science of the neurodegenerative diseases (self-assembly in the brain);
  • Multifunctional biomedical probes (e.g., cancer);
  • Peptide-based nanoelectronics & nanomagnetics
  • Structure-function relations from natural hard tissues;
  • Light, electron, x-ray & scanned probe microscopies & spectroscopies.

The research is supported by US-ARO through the DURINT and by NSF through the MRSEC programs.

Select publications

  1. J.L. Wacker, M.H. Zareie, H. Fong, M. Sarikaya, P. Muchowski, Hsp 70 and Hsp40 Attenuate Formation of Spherical and Annular Polyglutamine Oligomers by Partitioning Monomer, "Nature Structural & Molecular Biology", 11 (12) 1215-1222 (2004).
  2. H. Dai, C. Nguyen, M. Sarikaya, F. Baneyx & D. Schwartz, "Through-mask Anodic Patterning and Film Stability in Biological Media," Langmuir, 3483-3486, (2004).
  3. M.S. Kang, S.H. Kang, H. Ma, K.S. Kim, M. Sarikaya and A. Jen, Efficient Photocurrent Generation Through Self-assembled Monolayer of C60-Mercaptoanthrylphenyleacetylene with Well-ordered Structure, Chemical Communication, 2004.
  4. M. Sarikaya, et al, Materials Assembly and Formation using Engineered Polypeptides, Annu. Rev. Mater. Res. 34, 373-408, 2004.
  5. M. Sarikaya, C. Tamerler, A. Jen, K. Shulten & F. Baneyx, "Molecular biomimetics: Nanotechnology Through Biology," Nature-Materials, 2 577-585, (2004).
  6. H. Fong, S.N. White, M.L. Paine, W. Luo, M.L. Snead and M. Sarikaya, Enamel Structure-Properties Controlled by Engineered Proteins in Transgenic Mice, J. Bone & Min. Res., 18 (11), 2052-2059, 2003.
  7. M.H. Zareie, H. Ma, B.W. Reed, A. Jen & M. Sarikaya, "Controlled Assembly of Conducting Monomers for Molecular Electronics," Nanoletters, 3(2), 139-142, (2003).
  8. C. Tamerler, S. Dincer, D. Heidel and M. Sarikaya, Biomimetic Multifunctional Molecular Coatings Using Engineered Proteins, Prof. Org. Coating, 47 (3-4), 267-274, Sept 2003.
  9. R. Braun, M. Sarikaya, and K. Schulten, "Genetically engineered gold-binding polypeptides: Structure prediction and molecular dynamics,",/. Biomater. Sci. Poly., 13 (7) 747-758 (2002).
  10. B. W. Reed, and M. Sarikaya, "Background subtraction in low-loss Transmission EELS for aloof experiments," Ulframicrwcopy, 93 (1) 25-37 (2002).
  11. K. S. Katti, M. Qian, F. Dogan, and M. Sarikaya, "Dopant effect on local dielectric properties in barium titanate-based electroceramics determined by transmission EELS," J. Amer. Ceram. Soc., 85 (9) 2236-2243 (2002).
  12. M. H. Zareie, H. Ma, B. W. Reed, A. Jen, and M. Sarikaya, "Single molecular conductivity of ordered nanowires," Nairn Letters, 3 (2) 139-142 (2002).
  13. X. Jiang, J. S. Liu, M. S. Liu, P. Herguth, A. K-Y Jen, H. Fong, M. Sarikaya, "Perfluorocyclobutane-based Arylamine hole-transporting materials for organic and polymer light emitting diodes," Adv. Funct. Mater., 12 (11/12)745-751(2002).
  14. G. Mayer and M. Sarikaya, "Rigid biological composite materials: Structural examples for biomimetic design," Experimental Mechanics, 42 (4) 395-403 (2002).
  15. M. Paine, S. N. White, W. Luo, H. Fong, M. Sarikaya, and M. Snead, "Regulated gene expression dictates enamel structure and tooth function," Matrix Biology, 20, 273-292 (2001).
  16. D. R. Katti, K. S. Katti, J. M. Sopp, and M. Sarikaya, "3D finite element modeling of mechanical response in nacre-based hybrid nanocomposites," Computational & Theoretical Polym. Sci., 11, 397-404 (2001).
  17. B. W. Reed and M. Sarikaya, "TEM/EELS Analysis of heat-treated carbon nanotubes: experimental techniques," J. Electrn. Microsc., 51, 597-105 (2001).
  18. M. Sarikaya et al., "A Biomimetic optical fiber of a sponge spicule, .7. Mater. Res., 16(5) 1420-1428 (2001).
  19. B.W. Reed and M. Sarikaya, "Electronic properties of carbon nanotubes by transmission electron energy loss spectroscopy," Phys. Rev. B., 64, 1554-1569 (2001).

Honors & awards

  • Materials Research Society member
  • American Chemical Society member
  • Microscopy Society of America member
  • American Society of Materials member
  • The Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society member
  • American Ceramic Society member
  • American Physical Society member
  • Microanalysis Society member
  • American Association of Advancement of Science member
  • National Academy of Engineering: Nonconventional Concrete Technologies panel, 1997/98
  • National Academy of Engineering: Army After Next panel, 1998/99


Amazon Catalyst grant for MSE team

Deniz Yucesoy, a graduate student in MSE's GEMSEC Labs, has been awarded an Amazon Catalyst grant for a project titled "Remineralizing Tooth Whitening Lozenges for Healthy Daily Use." Current whitening products typically contain hydrogen peroxide as the active ingredient, which remove discoloration by dissolving stained minerals from the surface of teeth. Although this chemical-etching process reveals a fresh surface, it is often at the expense of removing healthy enamel — the fully mineralized crown of teeth which provides protection and cannot regenerate. As a consequence, the inner layer, dentin, becomes exposed — creating complications, such as hypersensitivity and increased susceptibility to caries (cavities), which, taken together, far outweigh the cosmetic benefits. Newly developed tooth-whitening lozenges dissolve in saliva recruiting calcium and phosphate ions to the surface of teeth and create a new mineral layer through a restorative process thereby eliminating undesirable stains. When fully developed through the Catalyst Project, whitening lozenges will be used, clinically and over-the-counter product worldwide, for both therapeutic (remineralization) and cosmetic (whitening) purposes providing a safer alternative to the existing peroxide-containing corrosive treatments. The Whitening Lozenge Team members (l to r): Sanaz Saadat (grad student, Oral Health Sciences), Sami Dogan (Assistant Professor and Clinician, Restorative Dentistry), Mehmet Sarikaya (Professor and PI, MSE), Deniz Yucesoy (MSE grad student and The Catalyst Lead, MSE), and Hanson Fong (Research Scientist, MSE).

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