Unlocking melanin's potential for space travel.

We are on a mission to unlock melanin's potential to revolutionize the way we protect from/harness radiation and communicate on our planet and in space.

The success of a civilization depends on the materials used to build it. Melanin-based biomaterials can aid humans to become a space faring civilization.

MelaTech was founded in 2017 by scientists with a passion for melanin biology and biotech applications to improve human life.

Melanins

Remarkable polymers with unique physicochemical properties and commercial applications in radiation shielding/countermeasures, energy harvesting, bioelectronics, obscurants, bioremediation, and many other fields.

We specialize in fungal melanins capable of shielding various types of ionizing radiation, capturing heat from the entire solar irradiance spectrum, and exhibiting superior thermal stability as compared to synthetic melanin analogs.
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MelaTech R&D

MelaTech specializes in the large-scale production of melanins and development of melanin-based biomaterials for coatings, clothing, infrastructure, and much more.

Radiation shielding for use in space exploration and colonization, radiation hardening electronics, and developing protective barriers for humans. Improved radiation shielding materials could mitigate future disasters like the Fukishima and Chernobyl incidents.

Harnessing melanin's ability to broadly absorb solar radiation has potential for improving passive heat capture systems for cold climates.

Melanin has fascinating electrical properties which have already been demonstrated in the construction of melanin batteries. Coupled with solar absorption and radiation shielding there are many unique applications for bioelectronics.

The MelaTech Team

Radames J.B. Cordero

Chief Executive Officer
and
Co-founder

Arturo Casadevall

Chair of Board of Directors
and
Co-founder

Quigly Dragotakes


Chief Scientific Officer

Radames J.B. Cordero

Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder

University of Puerto Rico, B.S., 2006 (Industrial Microbiology)
Albert Einstein College of Medicine, M.S., 2009 (Biochemistry)
Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Ph.D., 2012 (Biophysics)
Research Associate at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Ph.D. (Dept. Molecular Microbiology and Immunology)

Dr. Cordero has led multiple research programs involving national and international collaborations resulting in >42 peer-reviewed publications and >1390 citations since 2009. With over 25 years of experience in microbiology and polymer research, Dr. Cordero focuses in the R&D of novel melanin-related biomaterials and their commercialization in a variety of radiation-powered applications.

Arturo Casadevall

Chair Board of Directors and Co-founder

Queens College, City University of New York, B.A., (Chemistry, 1979)
New York University, M.S., Ph.D., (Biochemistry, 1983/1984)
New York University, M.D., (1985)
Bloomberg Distinguished Professor and Alfred and Jill Sommer Professor and Chair of the W. Harry Feinstone
Department of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

With over 780 publications and 51,640 citations, Dr. Casadevall is one of the most cited scientist ever and a world-prominent expert in the field of microbial melanins. With over 100 peer-review publications related to fungal melanins, his >20 y/o research program has made significant contributions to our understanding of melanin structure and biology. Some of Dr. Casadevall’s contributions include describing that melanin enable fungi to harvest ionizing radiation for enhanced growth (AKA radiotropism).

Lisa Walborn

Chief Financial Officer

Shippensburg State University, MBA, 2013
Penn State University, Social Psychology
Administrator, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
With >15 years of experience managing a multimillion-dollar portfolio of academic grants and contracts, Ms. Walborn oversees all financial operations, business plan development, strategic implementation, resource allocation, and infrastructure/programmatic development at MelaTech.

Quigly Dragotakes

Chief Scientific Officer

Ithaca College, B.S. (Biochemistry, 2014)
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Ph.D. (Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, 2020)
Mr. Dragotakes received his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Ithaca College in 2014 where he studied bacterial quorum sensing as well as gene compensation. Following graduation, he spent two years studying Alzheimer's Disease pathology as a research assistant in the Greengard Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience at The Rockefeller University before beginning his doctoral studies. His Ph.D. research focused on host-pathogen interactions of phagolysosome resident Cryptococcus neoformans.

Quigly has broad technical expertise ranging from molecular biology to biochemistry and computer programming. He established MelaTech's 3D printing technology, and was responsible for generating the melanin and designing the samples for the MISSE 12 and 13 missions. As a jack-of-all-trades Quigly was the clear choice of CSO, quick to learn new techniques across a variety of fields and competent at applying that knowledge to efficiently generate quality results. He has already pioneered multiple patented melanin biotechnologies.

MelaTech in the News

Making space travel safer

Radames is quoted in regard to melanin based radiation protection.

Melanin in space

MelaTech is sending samples to the International Space Station to study long term exposure of melanin to cosmic Radiation.

Literature Available Upon Request

  1. Bernsmann, F. 2014. Melanin Made by Dopamine Oxidation: Thin Films and Interactions with Polyelectrolyte Multilayers. arXiv:1404.2408.
  2. Bettinger, C. 2016. Melanins as Active Components in Energy Storage Materials.
  3. Camacho, E., Vij, et. al. 2019. The structural unit of melanin in the cell wall of the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. The Journal of Biological Chemistry.
  4. Casadevall, A., Cordero, R.J.B., Bryan, R., Nosanchuk, J. and Dadachova, E. 2017. Melanin, radiation, and energy transduction in fungi. Microbiology spectrum 5(2).
  5. Casadevall, A., Nakouzi, A., Crippa, P.R. and Eisner, M. 2012. Fungal melanins differ in planar stacking distances. Plos One 7(2), p. e30299.
  6. Cordero, R.J.B. 2017. Melanin for space travel radioprotection. Environmental Microbiology.
  7. Cordero, R.J.B. and Casadevall, A. 2017. Functions of fungal melanin beyond virulence. Fungal biology reviews 31(2), pp. 99–112.
  8. Cordero, R.J.B., Vij, R. and Casadevall, A. 2017. Microbial melanins for radioprotection and bioremediation. Microbial biotechnology 10(5), pp. 1186–1190.
  9. Dadachova, E., Bryan, R.A., Howell, R.C., Schweitzer, A.D., Aisen, P., Nosanchuk, J.D. and Casadevall, A. 2008. The radioprotective properties of fungal melanin are a function of its chemical composition, stable radical presence and spatial arrangement. Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research 21(2), pp. 192–199.
  10. Dadachova, E., Bryan, R.A., Huang, X., Moadel, T., Schweitzer, A.D., Aisen, P., Nosanchuk, J.D. and Casadevall, A. 2007. Ionizing radiation changes the electronic properties of melanin and enhances the growth of melanized fungi. Plos One 2(5), p. e457.
  11. Dezidério, S.N., Brunello, C.A., da Silva, M.I.N., Cotta, M.A. and Graeff, C.F.O. 2004. Thin films of synthetic melanin. Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids 338–340, pp. 634–638.
  12. Eisenman, H.C. and Casadevall, A. 2012. Synthesis and assembly of fungal melanin. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 93(3), pp. 931–940.
  13. Eisenman, H.C., et. al. 2005. Microstructure of cell wall-associated melanin in the human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. Biochemistry 44(10), pp. 3683–3693.
  14. Gadd, G.M. and de Rome, L. 1988. Biosorption of copper by fungal melanin. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 29(6), pp. 610–617.
  15. Hill, H.Z. 1992. The function of melanin or six blind people examine an elephant. Bioessays: News and Reviews in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology 14(1), pp. 49–56.
  16. d’Ischia, M. 2018. Melanin-Based Functional Materials. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 19(1).
  17. Jalmi, P., Bodke, P., Wahidullah, S. and Raghukumar, S. 2012. The fungus Gliocephalotrichum simplex as a source of abundant, extracellular melanin for biotechnological applications. World journal of microbiology & biotechnology 28(2), pp. 505–512.
  18. Khajo, A., et. al. 2011. Protection of melanized Cryptococcus neoformans from lethal dose gamma irradiation involves changes in melanin’s chemical structure and paramagnetism. Plos One 6(9), p. e25092.
  19. Kim, Y.J., et. al. 2013. Biologically derived melanin electrodes in aqueous sodium-ion energy storage devices. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 110(52), pp. 20912–20917.
  20. Kumar, P., et. al. 2016. Melanin-based flexible supercapacitors. J. Mater. Chem. C 4(40), pp. 9516–9525.
  21. Kunwar, A., et. al. 2012. Melanin, a promising radioprotector: mechanisms of actions in a mice model. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 264(2), pp. 202–211.
  22. McGinness, J., Corry, P. and Proctor, P. 1974. Amorphous semiconductor switching in melanins. Science 183(4127), pp. 853–855.
  23. McLean, J., Purvis, O.W., Williamson, B.J. and Bailey, E.H. 1998. Role for lichen melanins in uranium remediation. Nature 391(6668), pp. 649–650.
  24. Nosanchuk, J.D., Stark, R.E. and Casadevall, A. 2015. Fungal melanin: what do we know about structure? Frontiers in microbiology 6, p. 1463.
  25. Pacelli, C., et. al. Melanin is effective in protecting fast and slow growing fungi from various types of ionizing radiation. Environmental Microbiology 19(4), pp. 1612–1624.
  26. Rageh, M.M., El-Gebaly, R.H., Abou-Shady, H. and Amin, D.G. 2015. Melanin nanoparticles (MNPs) provide protection against whole-body ɣ-irradiation in mice via restoration of hematopoietic tissues. Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry 399(1–2), pp. 59–69.
  27. Revskaya, E., et. al. 2012. Compton scattering by internal shields based on melanin-containing mushrooms provides protection of gastrointestinal tract from ionizing radiation. Cancer Biotherapy & Radiopharmaceuticals 27(9), pp. 570–576.
  28. Rosas, A.L. and Casadevall, A. 1997. Melanization affects susceptibility of Cryptococcus neoformans to heat and cold. FEMS Microbiology Letters 153(2), pp. 265–272.
  29. Rózanowska, M., Sarna, T., Land, E.J. and Truscott, T.G. 1999. Free radical scavenging properties of melanin interaction of eu- and pheo-melanin models with reducing and oxidising radicals. Free Radical Biology & Medicine 26(5–6), pp. 518–525.
  30. Saini, A.S. and Melo, J.S. 2013. Biosorption of uranium by melanin: kinetic, equilibrium and thermodynamic studies. Bioresource Technology 149, pp. 155–162.
  31. Schweitzer, A.D., et. al. 2010. Melanin-covered nanoparticles for protection of bone marrow during radiation therapy of cancer. International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics 78(5), pp. 1494–1502.
  32. Solano, F. 2017. Melanin and Melanin-Related Polymers as Materials with Biomedical and Biotechnological Applications-Cuttlefish Ink and Mussel Foot Proteins as Inspired Biomolecules. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 18(7).
  33. Solano, F. 2014. Melanins: skin pigments and much more?types, structural models, biological functions, and formation routes. New journal of science 2014, pp. 1–28.
  34. Turick, C.E., et. al. 2011. Gamma radiation interacts with melanin to alter its oxidation-reduction potential and results in electric current production. Bioelectrochemistry 82(1), pp. 69–73.
  35. Xu, R., et. al. 2019. Melanin: A Greener Route To Enhance Energy Storage under Solar Light. ACS omega 4(7), pp. 12244–12251.

Join the Melatech Team, Win a Scholarship

The MelaTech Young Talent Scholarship/Internship is committed to supporting under-represented STEM students for short-term internships at our R&D facility. Scholars will carry out basic and applied research work related to melanins and the development of novel melanin-based biomaterials for applications in space exploration, environment conservation, and national defense. Previous R&D experience is a plus but not as important as passion, desire to learn, and hard work. Interested individuals can write an email to info@melatech.space with a short cover letter explaining why you are interested in working with us.

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Mailbox: PO Box 13431
900 E. Fayette St. Rm 118
Baltimore, MD 21233-9715

Phone: (787) 242-2004

Email: info@melatech.space

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