Self-Assembly of Nanoscale Biomaterials Through Multiscale Simulations
Mon, Mar 18
2:00 PM — 3:15 PM
Steinman HallSteinman Hall 160 - Lecture Hall
Steinman Hall, 160 - Lecture Hall
The Chemical Engineering Department would like to welcome Hung Nguyen from the Univ. of Cal., IrvineMolecular self-assembly, which is ubiquitous in chemistry, materials science, and biology, is a process in which molecules spontaneously form ordered aggregates without human intervention via noncavalent interactions. The self-assembly principles gleaned from biological systems found in Nature can be used for the design and construction of novel self-assembling nanoscale biomaterials. Such nanoengineered biomaterials are expected to have a promising future in applications such as pharmaceuticals, drug delivery, tissue engineering, biomedical implants, and alternative energy. A clearer understanding of how environmental conditions impact the formation, functionality and performance of these biomaterials is a crucial precursor to their widespread application and acceptance. In this talk, I will present some of our recent work on self-assembly in biological systems via Molecular Dynamics simulations using multiscale models that we have developed to represent amino and nucleic acids. I will focus on our effort to elucidate the molecular-level mechanisms by which peptide-polymer conjugated molecules called peptide amphiphiles are self-assembled into nanostructures for hydrogel formation, which provides new informative tools in the engineering of novel biomaterials for tissue engineering. Also, I will discuss our examination of self-assembly to form nanoscale biostructures by nucleic acids using DNA building blocks. These DNA nanostructures have many useful applications in nanoscience and nanotechnologies to fabricate analytical biosensors, build biofuel cells and biomolecule-based devices, and develop biocomputing systems for information processing.
Dr. Nguyen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science at UC Irvine. He received his B.S. degree in chemical engineering from the University of Florida. He then received his Ph.D. in chemical & biomolecular engineering from the North Carolina State University in 2004 under the guidance of Prof. Carol K. Hall. His graduate work was on computer simulations of protein folding and aggregation. Subsequently, he carried out his postdoctoral research on virus capsid assembly at the Scripps Research Institute (La Jolla, CA) and at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI) with Prof. Charles L. Brooks III in molecular biology, computational chemistry and biophysics. Since joining UC Irvine in 2009, his research group has been developing multi-scale modeling methods for molecular dynamics simulations of complex biological assemblies containing amino acids and nucleic acids. His recent work has focused on virus assembly, protein folding and aggregation, hydrogel formation, siRNA encapulation, DNA/RNA folding and assembly.