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The Complex World of Lipid Membranes: From Cell Communication to Drug Delivery

By: , Posted on: October 14, 2015


When listening to Beethoven’s second movement of the 7th symphony we get carried away into a fascinating world of emotions and delight. A music expert might try to explain why this is a masterpiece by analysing the harmonies and tonality applied, explaining gleefully the arrangement of strings and brass to deliver this great upwards spiralling melody. Whatever, most of us do not know why this piece of music works, but simply enjoy listening.

Analogously, today’s scientists are still far from understanding many of the biomembranes functions, because they are both, structurally and dynamically highly complex multicomponent systems. The traditional scientific approach to overcome this dilemma is to investigate only partial aspects, for instance by focussing on a certain class of membrane proteins or by concentrating scientific studies on simplified biomimetic membranes. Nevertheless, over the last decade a new trend is becoming more and more evident: complex systems are increasingly tackled. From novel asymmetric cell membrane models to the engineering of hybrid nanoparticles, complexity seems no longer deterrent. At the same time, the arising multifaceted scientific questions demand increasingly an interdisciplinary approach. Thus in the field of biomembranes and related lipid self-assembly research, mathematicians, physicists, chemists, biologists, engineers and medics are starting to work closer together than ever.

ABLSA cover

The newly titled Elsevier book-series Advances in Biomembranes and Lipid Self-Assembly (ABLSA) (formerly: Advances in Planar Lipid Bilayers and Liposomes) will try to embrace this vivid scientific spirit and therefore will cover a broad range of topics from theoretical membrane models, over novel biomimetic membrane systems to various 2- and 3-dimensional lipid self-assemblies. Planar lipid bilayers are widely investigated due to their ubiquity in nature and find their application in the design of liposomal dispersions. Increasingly evident though, also non-lamellar membrane phases play an important role in nature, especially in dynamic processes such as vesicle fusion and cell communication. Self-assembled lipid structures have an enormous potential ranging from model systems to cell membranes and from biosensing to controlled drug delivery.

From April 2016 the 23rd volume of Advances in Planar Lipid Bilayers and Liposomes will be the first book in the series to be renamed as:

Advances in Biomembranes and Lipid Self-Assembly

ABLSA publishes two volumes each year containing recurrent advances in this exciting multidisciplinary field. There are hardly any other book series covering the range of topics that ABLSA is aimed at; for instance, contributions include:

• Studies on cellular membranes and relevant model systems,
• Structured and non-structured lipid emulsions,
• Lipid based carriers for drugs and biomolecules delivery,
• Hierarchically ordered structures, and hybrid materials for various biotechnological applications.

This series does not only involve practical aspects but simulation and theory based investigations are also published therein. ABLSA, is an exciting compilation of cutting-edge reports that one shouldn’t miss out!

To learn more about this book series visit the Elsevier Store.

Content will also be available on ScienceDirect upon publication.

About the Author

michael rappoltMichael Rappolt

Professor of Lipid Biophysics, School of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Leeds, UK

Michael Rappolt received his MSc (1991) and Ph.D. (1995) in Physics from the University of Hamburg, Germany. Before joining the School of Food Science and Nutrition in April 2013, he worked as Assistant Professor at the Graz University of Technology, Austria and as Senior Researcher at the Synchrotron Trieste Outstation (Italy) of the Institute of Biophysics and Nanosystems Research (Austrian Academy of Science). He is a leading authority on the use of small angle X-ray scattering on investigating the structure and dynamics of lipid membranes. Recent activities have been concentrated on the study of drug/membrane interactions with applications to drug delivery and food.

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