chirality: Phenomenon in which an object or molecule cannot be superimposed on its mirror image.

cytoskeleton: Cellular “scaffolding” contained within the cytoplasm that maintains cell shape, enables cellular motion, and plays important roles in both intracellular transport and cellular division.

dendrimer: Repeatedly branched molecules that are characterized by their high symmetry and narrow distribution of molecular mass (low polydispersity).

directed assembly: Application of external fields, such as electric, magnetic, or shear, to align assembling particles into a larger structure.

fluorophore: Functional group in a molecule which will absorb energy of a specific wavelength and re-emit energy at a different (but equally specific) wavelength. The amount and wavelength of the emitted energy depend on both the fluorophore and the chemical environment of the fluorophore.

foldamer: Discrete chain molecule or oligomer that adopts a secondary structure stabilized by noncovalent interactions. It is an artificial molecule that mimics the ability of proteins, nucleic acids, and polysaccharides to fold into well-defined conformations, such as helices and β-sheets.

gene regulation: Cellular control of the amount and timing of changes to the appearance of the functional product of a gene.

histone: Chief protein components of chromatin. It acts as spool around which DNA winds, and it plays a role in gene regulation.

hydrogel: Network of polymer chains that are water-insoluble, sometimes found as a colloidal gel in which water is the dispersion medium. Hydrogels are super-absorbent (they can contain over 99 percent water) natural or synthetic polymers. Hydrogels possess also a degree of flexibility very similar to natural tissue, due to their significant water content.

lithography: Technique used to pattern or construct features on a surface.

macromolecule: Molecule of high relative molecular mass the structure of which usually consists of multiply repeated units that are derived—actually or conceptually—from molecules of low relative molecular mass; particularly a molecule of this kind that is of biological origin.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement