Hybrid Supported Lipid Bilayers for Bioinspired Bioelectronics with Enhanced Stability

Emily A. Schafer, Eliana Davis, Zachary Manzer, Susan Daniel, Jonathan Rivnay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


A promising new class of biosensors leverages the sensing mechanisms of living cells by incorporating native transmembrane proteins into biomimetic membranes. Conducting polymers (CPs) can further improve the detection of electrochemical signals from these biological recognition elements through their low electrical impedance. Supported lipid bilayers (SLBs) on CPs mimic the structure and biology of the cell membrane to enable such sensing, but their extrapolation to new target analytes and healthcare applications has been difficult due to their poor stability and limited membrane properties. Blending native phospholipids with synthetic block copolymers to create a hybrid SLB (HSLB) may address these challenges by allowing for the tuning of chemical and physical properties during membrane design. We establish the first example of HSLBs on a CP device and show that polymer incorporation enhances bilayer resilience and thus offers important benefits toward bio-hybrid bioelectronics for sensing applications. Importantly, HSLBs outperform traditional phospholipid bilayers in stability by exhibiting strong electrical sealing after exposure to physiologically relevant enzymes that cause phospholipid hydrolysis and membrane degradation. We investigate the impact of HSLB composition on membranes and device performance and demonstrate the ability to finely adjust the lateral diffusivity of HSLBs with modest changes in block copolymer content through a large compositional range. The inclusion of the block copolymer into the bilayer does not disrupt electrical sealing on CP electrodes, an essential metric for electrochemical sensors, or the insertion of a representative transmembrane protein. This work interfacing tunable and stable HSLBs with CPs paves the way for future bioinspired sensors that combine the exciting developments from both bioelectronics and synthetic biology.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
StatePublished - May 9 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2023-05-19
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): OSR-2019-CRG8-4086
Acknowledgements: E.A.S., E.D., and J.R. gratefully acknowledge funding support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation under award no. FG-2019-12046 and funding from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) under award no. OSR-2019-CRG8-4086. The project described was additionally supported by T32GM138826 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (Z.M.). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences or the National Institutes of Health. This work utilized Keck-II facility of Northwestern University’s NUANCE Center and Northwestern University Micro/Nano Fabrication Facility (NUFAB), which are both partially supported by Soft and Hybrid Nanotechnology Experimental (SHyNE) Resource (NSF ECCS-1542205), the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (NSF DMR-1720139), the State of Illinois, and Northwestern University. Additionally, the Keck-II facility is partially supported by the International Institute for Nanotechnology (IIN); the Keck Foundation; and the State of Illinois, through the IIN. Imaging work was performed at the Northwestern University Center for Advanced Microscopy generously supported by CCSG P30 CA060553 awarded to the Robert H Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center. Surface preparation was performed in the Analytical bioNanoTechnology Core Facility of the Simpson Querrey Institute for BioNanotechnology at Northwestern University. ANTEC is currently supported by the Soft and Hybrid Nanotechnology Experimental (SHyNE) Resource (NSF ECCS-2025633).
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Hybrid Supported Lipid Bilayers for Bioinspired Bioelectronics with Enhanced Stability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this