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Masaki Uchida, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Office Location: Science I, Room 374
Office Phone: 559.278.2237
E-mail: muchida@csufresno.edu

Dr. Uchida received a Ph.D. in Materials Chemistry from Kyoto University, Japan, where he studied inorganic materials for bone substitutes under the guidance of Professor Tadashi Kokubo. He was then awarded a post-doctoral fellowship of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science to research biomimetic synthesis of hydroxyapatite-protein composites in the laboratory of Dr. Atsuo Ito at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Japan. He subsequently joined the laboratory of Professor Trevor Douglas at Montana State University, where he studied the use of cage-like proteins as supramolecular templates for nanomaterials synthesis. Prior to joining California State University, Fresno in 2018, he was an Associate Scientist at Indiana University.

Areas of Specialty

Research

Research in the Uchida laboratory is at the interface of materials, inorganic, and biological chemistry. Dr. Uchida’s research interest lie in the development of new materials on the basis of bioinspired approaches. His current research involves exploring proteins as platforms for developing novel materials across multiple length scales from nano to macro.

1)     Utilization of protein cages as platforms for making functional nanoparticles

Cage-like proteins such as viral capsids and ferritin have been considered as promising platforms for developing functional nanomaterials due largely to the following reasons: 1) As the protein cages are gene products, their size and structure are extremely homogeneous, 2) The interior cavity of cages can be utilized for templated synthesis of well defined nanoparticles, and 3) They accommodate the introduction of functionality such as cell-targeting capability, either chemically and genetically. The Uchida laboratory is developing protein cage architectures as a means to encapsulate and sequester guest molecules including inorganic nanoparticles as well as organic molecules and proteins. These nanomaterials have a great potential with a range of applications from catalysis to biomedicine.

2)     Construction of three-dimensional array materials self-assembled form protein building blocks

Construction of higher order structures via controlled assembly of nano-scale building blocks in colloidal solutions have drawn significant interest because such array materials possess the potential to exhibit collective behaviors and emergent properties beyond those of the individual building blocks. Protein cage nanoparticles are ideal building blocks with which to construct higher order assemblies. This is, in part, because the size and structure of the protein cages nanoparticles are very homogeneous and a wide range of functionalities can be imparted into the particles. The Uchida laboratory is working to establish strategies to control assembly of protein cage building blocks into ordered arrays. This study will provide pioneering insights to the development of protein based array materials with collective functionality.

Teaching

Dr. Uchida teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses in inorganic chemistry and biochemistry such as CHEM 123, 155A, and 222. He also directs students working on research projects in his laboratory.

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