Sierin Lim*


School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, Nanyang Technological University
50 Nanyang Ave., Block N1.3
Singapore 637457


Protein nanocages have been engineered to tailor their functions as carriers for health (e.g. therapeutic and diagnostic agents)[1], molecular electronic, as well as consumer care applications (e.g. cosmetics and food). They are formed by the self-assembly of multiple subunits forming hollow cage-like structures of nanometer size. Their proteinaceous nature allows for facile modifications on protein nanocages internal and external surfaces, as well as the subunit interfaces. In this presentation, I will focus on their versatilities for two applications that are health and consumer product formulation.

In a recent study, protein nanocages have been shown to stabilize Pickering emulsion with pH responsive behavior[6]. The applications of protein nanocage-stabilized Piker emulsion include food and cosmetic formulations for delivery of micronutrients and active ingredients.For health application, we have shown that protein nanocages can be loaded with metal as MRI contrast agent[2]. Modifications at the interface of the subunits can render the nanocages sensitive to environmental changes, such as pH[3]. Display of targeting ligands on the external surface allows for selective accumulation on cancer cells[4,5] Figure 1 summarizes the modifications and potential health applications of the protein nanocages.

The versatility of protein nanocages is attractive for explorations of other applications.

Figure 1 Modifications resulting in multifunctional protein nanocages and their potential applications [1].



  1. Bhaskar SM, Lim S, NPG Asia Materials (2017) 9(4):e371.
  2. Sana B, Poh CL, Lim S, Chemical Communications (2012) 48(6):862-864.
  3. Peng T, Lee H, Lim S, Biomaterials Science (2015) 3:627-635.
  4. Bücheler J, Howard C, de Bakker CJ, Goodall S, Jones ML, Win T, Peng T, Tan CH, Chopra A, Mahler S, Lim S, Journal of Chemical Technology & Biotechnology (2015) 80(7):1230-1236.
  5. Walsh EG, Mills DR, Lim S, Sana B, et al., Journal of Nanoparticle Research (2013) 15:1409-1418.
  6. Sarker M, Tomczak N, Lim S, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (2017) 9(12):11193–11201.


Biographic Details

Sierin Lim

Associate Professor & Assistant Chair (Research), School of Chemical and Biomedical Eng.

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Phone: +65 6316 8966 | E-mail:

Research interests: protein engineering, protein assembly


AEB Auditorium