Silica (SiO2) nanoparticles have recently been explored for several medical applications. When used in these applications, the nanoparticles enter biological environments such as the human bloodstream. As a nanomaterial spends time in the bloodstream, it develops what is called a protein corona, a shell of proteins that affects its interactions with cells and other proteins in the vicinity – possibly inducing unexpected effects. In collaboration with Korin Wheeler at Santa Clara University, we will investigate the interaction of model bloodstream proteins at the molecular level, building an understanding of the effect of the nanomaterial on its environment and vice versa.