Urbana researcher receives national award

Explains how "liquid" glass keeps its shape

Chemist Peter G. Wolynes of Urbana, Ill., will be honored on March 28 by the world's largest scientific society for explaining how glass -- a kind of "frozen" liquid -- keeps its shape, and applying that insight to help explain the functional shapes of proteins. He will receive the Peter Debye Award in Physical Chemistry from the American Chemical Society at its national meeting in San Francisco.

Ten years ago, Wolynes and his group at the University of Illinois answered a deceptively simple question: How does glass remain solid?

The organization of glass molecules lacks the regular pattern that gives solids their characteristic rigidity. The particles are jumbled, as in a liquid. But while describing glass as a liquid is popular science trivia, it's inaccurate, said Wolynes.

"I would call glass a disorganized crystal, a sort of liquid in a frozen state," he said. "Almost any liquid will form a glass, as long as you cool it fast enough so it doesn't have time to organize.

"The basic idea of what we showed is that even random structures can still be stable," he continued. "Think of jigsaw puzzle pieces. Even though the shapes are irregular and they don't repeat, they do fit and stay together."

Wolynes is applying this mathematical insight to another problem: how new proteins fold themselves into precise, three-dimensional shapes. Researchers know proteins need particular shapes to function, but they assume them too quickly to study in the laboratory. And reproducing the speed properly in computer simulations requires lowering the virtual temperature.

"At that point, the proteins are too cool to assume their original structure. You could say they're trapped in a glass state," said the physical chemist. "One way of overcoming the computer-time problem is to develop simple models of the driving forces which avoid that trap."

Algorithms developed by Wolynes -- used in the field

Contact: Christina Curtin
American Chemical Society

Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Urbana chemist wins national award for contributions to cleaner fuels
2. Belgian researchers explore revolutionary approach to angiogenesis
3. Award winning researchers reveal potential new role for Glivec
4. University of Alberta researcher looks for clues to mysterious disease
5. $7.5 Million grant to Yale researchers for role of viruses in cancer
6. New anti-inflammatory strategy for cancer therapy identified by UCSD researchers
7. Joslin researchers clarify mechanisms for beta-cell formation
8. Pioneering AIDS researcher to speak at UH
9. Defensive action by influenza viruses demonstrated by Hebrew university researcher
10. Virginia Tech researchers to release findings on Smith River Project
11. Molecular motor myosin VI moves hand over hand, researchers say

Post Your Comments:

(Date:5/8/2019)... ... May 08, 2019 , ... MMS Holdings – an award-winning, ... by Medrio , the leading provider of eClinical technology for small to ... collaborating to position high-quality CRO services with Medrio’s fast and easy-to-use eClinical products, ...
(Date:5/7/2019)... ... May 07, 2019 , ... Landsec and Spartan Bioscience ... the UK. , In May, Landsec will undertake trials using Spartan’s innovative Legionella ... operators to take corrective action within hours instead of weeks. This test, ...
(Date:5/2/2019)... BUDAPEST, Hungary and CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (PRWEB) , ... ... ... headquartered in Budapest with US offices in Cambridge, MA, announces today that Holotype ... the annual meeting of the European Federation for Immunogenetics (EFI) in ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/18/2019)... ... April 18, 2019 , ... Taking a step closer to ... engineer at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a novel process using an ... isobutanol and other biofuels more economically. , Isobutanol, like ethanol, is an alcohol, ...
(Date:4/16/2019)... ... April 16, 2019 , ... Fulcrum Biometrics , ... that Bank South Pacific (BSP), the largest regionally owned bank in the South ... a contract to deliver a fingerprint-based Know Your Customer (KYC) banking solution that ...
(Date:4/12/2019)... ... 2019 , ... An upcoming episode of Advancements with Ted ... and devices being used to enhance cognitive skills. This episode is scheduled to ... Advancements will focus on Sound for Life, a neurotechnology company helping people to ...
(Date:4/10/2019)... ... ... After more than three months of renovation, Lajollacooks4u is set to reveal its ... modern lighting and fixtures, and will provide additional workspace for the many guests who ... the demand for our team-building events and cooking classes over the last eleven years,” ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: