American Chemical Society
Central Ohio Valley Section

November Meeting

Thursday, November 17, 2016

6:30 pm
Room 465 Science Building
Marshall University
Huntington, WV

Dr. Dusty Rose Miller

Department of Chemistry
Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN


“Adhesion beyond the interface: molecular adaptations of the mussel byssus to the intertidal zone”


   The California mussel, Mytilus californianus, adheres robustly in the high-energy and oxidizing intertidal zone with a fibrous holdfast called the byssus. The byssus is composed of cm long threads each terminating in an adhesive plaque. Byssal plaques mediate sessile attachment in part through proteins with “sticky” catecholic sidechains that reversibly adhere to a variety of surfaces with near-covalent bond energy. The plaque and thread are covered with an outer protective coating called the cuticle that’s high stiffness and extensibility make it one of the most energy-tolerant materials known. Overall, the mussel byssus represents an excellent model system for understanding adaptive mechanisms of both underwater adhesives (plaque) and tough materials (cuticle). I will discuss both plaque-associated mechanisms (antioxidant activity) and cuticle-associated mechanisms supporting adhesion including delivery of materials underwater, iron binding, and friction. I will argue that these supporting mechanisms are intimately linked and ultimately responsible for the durable and dynamic underwater adhesion of mussels in the intertidal zone. Our results reveal a significant untapped potential for antioxidants, coacervates and metals in applications that require adhesion, lubrication, and wear protection. These applications include underwater adhesives, artificial joints, contact lenses, dental sealants, and hair and skin conditioners.

Speaker Information

   Dusty Rose Miller, Ph.D. received her doctoral degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of California Santa Barbara in 2015 and is now a post-doctoral scholar at Vanderbilt University in the lab of Prof. David Cliffel.




E-mail Notification of Meetings



A Request from the Newsletter Editor/Webmaster:

        What do you think of this as a replacement for the newsletter?   Comments and suggestions are always welcome.  Please send any and all ideas for improvement to me at  Volunteers who would be interested in working on the web site are always welcomed.