Computational Science, Condensed Matter Physics
and Biophysics Seminar Professor Erik Luitjen
Materials Science and Engineering; Applied Mathematics Northwestern University
Friday - April 3, 2009
Physics Research Building - Room 595
3 Cummington Street
of rod-like polyelectrolytes: from materials
to cystic fibrosis "
play an important role in many biological problems
and can lead to counterintuitive phenomena.
I will highlight a number of problems in this
area that we have addressed by means of computational
methods. Specifically, we have used Monte Carlo
and molecular dynamics simulations to better
understand the self-assembly of stiff polyelectrolytes
(charged polymers). Such molecules, e.g. filamentous
actin, form close-packed bundles in the presence
of multivalent ions or proteins. We elucidate
the mechanism of this self-assembly process
and are able to make direct comparison to experimental
results obtained via small-angle x-ray scattering.
I will also demonstrate how these findings pertain
to fighting bacterial infections in cystic fibrosis
 Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 104, 15994-15999
 Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 138302 (2007).
 Biophys. J. 90, 4630-4638 (2006).