Nehal Abu-Lail, Ph.D.
My research program is focused on fundamental understanding of how cells interact with surfaces and respond to stresses within their environments. We are interested in prokaryotic as well as eukaryotic cells. While some of our projects are standalone projects of our lab, the majority of them represent interdisciplinary collaborative efforts with other groups. A brief description of the goals of some of our projects is provided below.
Bacterial cell related projects
- Investigate the fundamental molecular mechanisms of bacterial adhesion to surfaces
- Identify the relationship between bacterial pathogenicity and adherence
- Detail the role of bacterial extracellular substances (EPS) in controlling bacterial adhesion and mechanics
- Decouple the overall bacterial adhesion forces into specific and nonspecific forces important in governing bacterial adhesion to surfaces
- Quantify bacterial adhesion in batch and continuous bioreactor systems
- Correlate nanoscale measurements of bacterial adhesion with genetics, biofilm formation, as well as physiochemical characteristics of cells
- Apply our tools to address bacterial adhesion problems for a wide array of applications. Example applications include:
- How can we design antimicrobial treatments capable of controlling chronic wound infections?
- What are the nanoscale mechanisms of antibacterial drug resistance?
- How can we utilize biofilms to enhance soil mechanical properties?
- Can we use nonpathogenic bacterial cells as surrogates to predict the behavior of pathogenic bacterial cells?
- How do bacterial cells interact with implants?
- How does biochar amended soil impact bacterial cell transport and retention?
Mammalian cell related projects
- Can we engineer cartilage tissues mimetic of native cartilage? What are the effects of cell types investigated (stem cells versus chondrocytes)? What are the effects of chemical and mechanical stimuli on tissue functional properties?
- Can we map proteins’ distributions on cells’ surfaces? How does such distribution correlate with mRNA upregulation or downregulation of proteins on cellular surfaces?
- What are the strengths of ligand receptor (L-R) interaction forces? Is that dependent on the L-R pair investigated? Is it dependent on the environmental conditions used in culturing tissues?
- What are the forces involved in protein unfolding?
- Are there differences in the strength of unfolding of different cardiac protein isoforms?
Women in engineering educational project
- Why are women minorities in engineering in the US?
- What can we learn from predominantly Muslim countries and developing countries about how to stimulate women’s interest in engineering and how to retain them?
- How do macro and micro level thinking affect women participation in engineering?
Somayeh Ramezanian, Hien Xuan Ta, Balasingam Muhunthan, and Nehal Abu-Lail, Role of ionic strength in the retention and initial attachment of Pseudomonas putida to quartz sand, editors-pick, Biointerphases, 13, 041005, 2018; https://doi.org/10.1116/1.5027735.
Baran Arslan, Mert Colpan, Kevin T. Gray, Nehal I. Abu-Lail, Alla S. Kostyukova, Characterizing interaction forces between actin and proteins of the tropomodulin family reveals the presence of the N-terminal actin-binding site in leiomodin. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, 638:18-26, 2018, doi: 10.1016/j.abb.2017.12.005.
Nehal I Abu-Lail, Ashley Ater Kranov, Julie Kmec, Jennifer DeBoer, Sarah Morton, and Zahra Atiq, Women’s motivation to pursue engineering education and careers: A case study of Malaysia, 125thAmerican Society of Engineering Education proceedings, 2018, https://peer.asee.org/31259.
Arslan, Baran; Egerton, Kirstin; Zhang, Xiao; Nehal I. Abu-Lail, The Effects of the surface morphology and conformations of lignocellulosic biomass biopolymers on their nanoscale interactions to hydrophobic self-assembled monolayers, 2017, Langmuir, 33(27):6857-6868, doi: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.7b01470.
Nazempour, A., Quisenberry, C., Nehal I. Abu-Lail and Van Wie, B., Oscillating hydrostatic pressure and fluid flow work in synergy to enhance matrix synthesis by bovine chondrocytes encapsulated in agarose, Cell and Tissue Research, doi: 10.1007/s00441-017-2651-7, 2017.
Waled Suliman, James B Harsh, Ann-Marie Fortuna, Manuel Garcia Perez, and Nehal I. Abu-Lail. Quantitative effects of biochar oxidation and pyrolysis temperature on the transport of pathogenic and nonpathogenic coli in biochar-amended sand columns. Environmental Science and Technology, 2017, 51 (9), 5071–5081, doi: 10.1021/acs.est.6b04535.
Waled Suliman, James B Harsh, Nehal I. Abu-Lail, Ann-Marie Fortuna, Ian Dallmeyer, and Manuel Garcia Perez. The role of biochar porosity and surface functionality in augmenting hydrologic properties of a sandy soil. Science of the Total Environment, 2017, 574:139-147. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.09.025.
Baran Arslan, Mert Colpan, Xiaohui Ju, Xiao Zhang, Alla Kostyukova and Nehal I. Abu-Lail, The effects of noncellulosic compounds on the nanoscale interaction forces measured between carbohydrate-binding module and lignocellulosic biomass, Biomacromolecules, 2016, 17 (5), 1705–1715; doi: 10.1021/acs.biomac.6b00129.
Chrystal Quisenberry, Arshan Nazempour, Bernard Van Wie, and Nehal I. Abu-Lail. β1-integrin expression on chondrogenically differentiating human adipose-derived stem cells using atomic force microscopy. Biointerphases, 11, 021005, 2016; doi: 10.1116/1.4947049.
Arshan Nazempour, Chrystal Quisenberry, Bernard Van Wie, and Nehal I. Abu-Lail. Mechanics of engineered cartilage tissues from human adipose stem cells: Synergistic influences of TGF-β3 and oscillating pressure. Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Vol. 16, 1-10, 2016. doi:10.1166/jnn.2016.12564.
Abdul Lone, Erhan Atci, Ryan Renslow, Haluk Beyenal, Susan Noh, Boel Fransson, Nehal I. Abu-Lail, Jeong-Jin Park, David Gang, and Douglas Call. Colonization of epidermal tissue by Staphylococcus aureus produces localized hypoxia and stimulates secretion of antioxidant and caspase-14 proteins. Infection and Immunity, May, 2015, 83(8):3026-34. doi:10.1128/IAI.00175-15.
Mia kiamco; Erhan Atci; Qaiser Farid; Abedlrahman Mohamed; Ryan Renslow; Nehal I. Abu-Lail; Boel Fransson; D. Call and Haluk Beyenal. Vancomycin and maltodextrin act synergistically against Staphylococcus aureus biofilms by affecting structure and activity. Biotechnology & Bioengineering, 2015, 112(12), 2562-2570, doi: 10.1002/bit.25681.
Brown, E.; Dehong, H.; Nehal I. Abu-Lail; Zhang, X. Synthesis and analysis of the molecular interactions of nanocrystalline cellulose-fibrin nanocomposites for artificial vascular graft applications. Biomacromolecules, 2013, 14(4):1063-1071, dx.doi.org/10.1021/bm3019467. |
H. Kawas, C. C. Benoist, J. W. Harding, G. A. Wayman and Nehal I. Abu-Lail. Mapping of the Met receptor on hippocampal neurons by AFM and confocal microscopy. Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine, 2013, 9(3), 428-438. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nano.2012.08.008.
Eskhan & Nehal I. Abu-Lail. Cellular and molecular investigations of the adhesion and mechanics of Listeria monocytogenes lineages’ I and II environmental and epidemic strains. Journal of Colloids and Interface Science, 394, 554–563, 2013, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcis.2012.11.038.
P. Gordesli and Nehal I. Abu-Lail. Combined Poisson and soft-particle DLVO Analysis of L. monocytogenes nanoscale adhesion forces at varying temperatures of growth. Environmental Science and Technology, 2012, 46(18), 10089-10098. dx.doi.org/10.1021/es300653w.
-J. Park & Nehal I. Abu-Lail. Heterogeneities in the adhesion energies measured between Listeria pathogenic and non-pathogenic species and silicon nitride probed using atomic force microscopy. Biofouling, 2011, 27(5), 543-559. doi: 10.1080/08927014.2011.584129.
-J. Park & Nehal I. Abu-Lail. Variations in the nanomechanical properties of virulent and avirulent Listeria monocytogenes. Soft Matter, 2010, 6, 3898-3909. doi:10.1039/b927260g.
-J. Park, T. Haines & Nehal I. Abu-Lail. A Correlation between the virulence and the adhesion of L. monocytogenes to silicon nitride: An AFM study. Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, 2009, 73 (2), 237-243. doi:10.1016/j.colsurfb.2009.05.027.
Chang, Nehal I. Abu-Lail, J. Coles, F. Guilak, G. Jay & S. Zauscher. Friction force microscopy of lubricin and hyaluronic acid between hydrophobic and hydrophilic surfaces. Soft Matter, 2009, 5(18), 3438-3445. doi:10.1039/b907155e.
Chang, Nehal I. Abu-Lail, F. Guilak, G. Jay & S. Zauscher. Conformational mechanics, adsorption and normal force interactions of lubricin and hyaluronic acid on model surfaces. Langmuir, 2008, 24(4), 1183-1193. doi: 10.1021/la702366t.
David M. Loveless, Nehal I. Abu-Lail, Marian Kaholek, S. Zauscher & Stephen L. Craig. Reversibly cross-linked surface grafted polymer brushes. Angewandte Chemie-International Edition, 2006, 45(46), 7812-7814. doi: 10.1002/anie.200602508.
Yee Lam, Nehal I. Abu-Lail, Munir Alam & S. Zauscher. Using microcantilever deflection to detect HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein gp120. Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine, 2006, 2(4), 222-229. doi: 10.1016j.nano.2006.10.002.
Nehal I. Abu-Lail & T. A. Camesano. Specific and nonspecific interaction forces between coli and silicon nitride, determined by Poisson statistical analysis. Langmuir, 2006, 22, 7296-7301. doi: 10.1021/la0533415.
Nehal I. Abu-Lail, T. Ohashi, R. Clark, H. Erickson & S. Zauscher. Understanding the elasticity of fibronectin fibrils: Unfolding strengths of FN-III and GFP domains measured by single molecule force spectroscopy. Matrix Biology, 25, 2006, 175-184. doi: 10.1016/j.matbio.2005.10.007.
Nehal I. Abu-Lail & T. A. Camesano.The role of lipopolysaccharides in the adhesion, retention, and transport of coli JM109. Environmental Science and Technology, 2003, 37(10), 2173-2183. doi: 10.1021/es026159o.
Nehal I. Abu-Lail & T. A. Camesano. Role of ionic strength on the relationship of biopolymer conformation, DLVO contributions and steric interactions to bioadhesion of putida kT2442. Biomacromolecules, 2003, 4, 1000-1012. doi: 10.1021/bm034055f.
Nehal I. Abu-Lail & T. A. Camesano. Elasticity of putida KT2442 surface polymers probed with single- molecule force spectroscopy. Langmuir, 2002, 18, 4071-4081. doi: 10.1021/la015695b.
Al- Malah, M. Azzam & Nehal I. Abu-Lail. Olive mills effluent wastewater post-treatment using activated clay. Separation and Purification Technology, 2000, 20 (2-3), 225-234. doi: 10.1016/S1383-5866(00)00114-3.