Gerard Marriott


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Department of Bioengineering

284 Hearst Memorial Mining Building UC-Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720


The Marriott lab is recognized for its innovative research programmes at the interface of bioengineering, chemistry and biophysics. Our technology-driven research programs are advanced through long-standing interests in the design and synthesis of optical probes and biosensors and their application to sensing technologies and microscope imaging techniques. Notable firsts for the lab include: the introduction of time-resolved delayed luminescence imaging microscopy; rational design of synthetic and genetically-encoded optical switch probes for high-contrast in vivo imaging using OLID- and OLID-FRET; caged proteins and optical control of protein activity with high spatiotemporal resolution; genetically-encoded probes for quantitative fluorescence anisotropy, FRET and lifetime-based imaging of protein interactions in living cells and model organisms; optical switch probes to reversibly control protein interactions using light; engineering human platelets and exosomes as living vehicles for long-term, in vivo imaging of early-stage tumours, and targeted release of drugs to manage tumours; a new concept in the design of drug-releasing contact lenses that slowly release timolol and Xiidra during passive exposures to natural daylight; the design of ELISA formats suitable for POC diagnostic devices; Structural biology of drugs that target the barbed-end of the actin filament.

The group is currently focusing research effort on:

a), new mechanoluminescence probes for in vitro and in vivo imaging and analysis of stress distributions in load-bearing medical implants;

b), the development of tumour-targeted drug delivery systems through molecular engineering of human platelets and exosomes;

c), development of fully-reversible hydrogel systems for long-term, zero-order kinetic release of drugs to treat ocular diseases and cancer

d), ELISA-based detection systems for at-home and wearable devices

Mechanoluminescent sensors, fluorescent probes and actuators

(2020; 2021; 2015)

Piezoelectric crystals for in vivo imaging of stress distributions in load-bearing devices (2020)

Engineering human platelets and exosomes for in vivo imaging and drug delivery

(2016; 2021)

Daylight-triggered drug-release from contact lenses (2019; 2021)

Reversible hydrogels for long-term, zero-order release of drugs

New ELISA-based platforms for POC diagnostics (2020)

Design of NIR-I and NIR-II probes for in vivo imaging (2020; 2017)

High-resolution structural and mechanistic analyses of drug interactions with the barbed-end of the actin filament (2015)

Teaching and Mentorship

BioE103: Engineering Molecules II:

Physical and biophysical chemistry approaches to understand the properties, interactions and behaviour of molecules in complex systems

Fall 2020; Fall 2021 (~120 students)

Thermodynamics (Lectures 1-12):

State functions; Equations of state for ideal (kinetic equation derived) and real gases; (1-3)

1st Law of thermodynamics; heat and work; Heat capacity; Derivation of equations for Adiabatic processes; Enthalpy (4-7)

2nd Law of thermodynamics; Carnot Engine and Carnot cycle; Entropy; The Clausius inequality; Criterea for spontaneity; Helmholtz energy; Gibbs energy (8-10)

Chermical potential and equilibrium constants (11,12)

Statistical thermodynamics (13-16):

Probability distributions; Configurations and microstates;

Stirling's approximation for N!

Boltzmann Distribution Law (including derivation) (13-14)

Partition Functions and contributions to the molecular energy (derivations);

Equi-partition theorem; (15-16)

Thermodynamic Connections (derivations for the Internal energy, Helmholtz and Gibbs Energy and Boltzmann Entropy) (16)

Inter-molecular forces: (17-19)

Description of non-covalent forces relevant to biomolecular structures and their interactions with ligands and drugs. Anfinson's experiment; Thermodynamics of protein structure and folding

Molecular Spectroscopy (20-30)

Light-matter interactions;

Absorption spectroscopy; Derivation of Beer-Lambert law

Properties of excited states - fluorescence emission and descriptions of quantum yield, energy, lifetime and anisotropy, including derivations.

Static and dynamic quenching - derivation of Stern-Volmer equation

FRET, proton dissociation, cis-trans isomerisation reactions;

Design of optical probes and biosensors including nanoparticles and FPs; (20-28)

Microscopy: Resolution in the light microscope;

Single molecule imaging and super-resolution imaging (29-30)

Kinetic analysis of Chemical Reactions (31-34):

Zero, 1st and 2nd order reactions (with derivations).

Reaction mechanisms;

Perturbation approaches to study fast reactions ;

Activation energy, Arrhenius equation,

Collision and transition state theories

Enzyme Kinetics (35-36)


Derivations of the Michaelis-Menton and Briggs-Haldane equations;

Plotting enzyme kinetic data: Lineweaver-Burk, Cornish-Bowden-Eisenthal, Hanes

Enzyme inhibition: Dixon-Webb Plot

Quantitative analysis of enzyme catalysed reactions

Enzyme catalysed reaction mechanisms

Assignments: 3 HW, 2 MT and 1 Final

BioE163L: Molecular and Cellular Biophotonics - The LAB Spring 2022 (~20 students)

Following instruction on spectroscopic techniques (part 1), teams of students propose research projects (Part 2) that focus on quantitative analysis of interacting biomolecules. Previous projects have led to the development of new bioassay platforms suitable for POC ELISA diagnostics, POC devices to detect and quantify target antigens, novel FRET sensors to image protein interactions, and devices that enable at-home detection and quantitative analysis of biomarker proteins

BioE163: Molecular and Cellular Biophotonics

Fall 2022 (~60 students)

This course provides undergraduate and graduate bioengineering students with opportunities to increase their knowledge of topics in the emerging field of biophotonics, with emphasis on absorption and fluorescence spectroscopic techniques, biosensors and devices and multiscale in vitro and in vivo optical imaging. This course covers the photophysics and photochemistry of organic molecules and nanoparticles, the design and characterization of biosensors, with applications for multiplexed detection of target molecules in high throughput screening assays, for at-home POC diagnostic systems and wearable devices, and for high contrast and high-resolution imaging and analysis of biomolecules and their complexes in living cells and tissue.

BioE196: Undergraduate research

(4 students per semester)

Team-based research projects, including several of those identified above

Marriott Biography

1981-1987 PhD. University of Illinois, Urbana, Il.

Research advisor Prof. Gregorio Weber

1987-1990 Alexander von Humboldt Fellow

Max Planck Institute for

Biophysical Chemistry,

Goettingen, Germany

1990-1991 JSPS fellow

Department of Physics,

Keio University,

Yokohama, Japan

1992-1999 C3 Professor,

Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry,

Martinsried, Germany

1999-2009 Professor, Department of Physiology,

University of Wisconsin, Madison , WI

2009- Professor,

Department of Bioengineering,

University of California-Berkeley,

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