Project TitleDOPA-Melanin Films and Particles as Antimicrobial Compound Carriers and Heavy Metal Scavengers
Track Code2014-036
Short Description

Novel method for production of DOPA-melanin films and particles

#chemical #coatings #materials #biomedical #environment #remediation


Northwestern University researchers have developed a simple method to generate DOPA-melanin (DM) films and particles for a variety of biomedical and environmental remediation applications. DM is a unique material based on human melanin proteins, which are responsible for coloring hair and skin. In addition to these features, melanins are also photoprotectants, antioxidants and metal chelators. These properties have made them desirable biomaterials for incorporation into medical and water purification devices, but methods for doing so effectively were elusive. Unlike currently available coating processes for medical devices, the method described by the Messersmith group is less cumbersome and effectively coats a wide variety of substrates. Furthermore, DM films can be loaded with antimicrobial compounds, which are later released to kill bacteria. This novel method can also be applied for generation of DM particles, which have been shown to efficiently remove heavy metals from solution. In laboratory tests, DM particles exhibit high binding capacity for several heavy metals that is unattainable by other water purification particles. Thus, DM particles offer extraordinary potential for improving environmental remediation efforts. 

TagsCHEMICAL: coatings, environment: remediation, materials, MATERIALS: biomedical
Posted DateJan 14, 2015 4:27 PM


Phillip Messersmith*

Jinghao Kuang


  • Delivery of antibiotic or antimicrobial compounds
  • Coating for medical devices
  • Heavy metal removal from the environment


  •  Simple methods to synthesize DM films and particles
  •  DM films:  1) Capability to bind a wide variety of molecules

                          2) Easily deposited on a range of substrates

  •  DM particles: Enhanced binding to metals compared to other currently available technologies


IP Status

US patent application has been filed.

Marketing Contact

Vara Josyula, PhD

Invention Manager 

(p) 847.491.4456