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:8/6/2019)... (PRWEB) , ... August 05, 2019 , ... Keck Graduate ... KGI School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (SPHS). , “Dean Zdanowicz is highly regarded ... of Trustees Chairman Jim Widergren. “He is a great choice to build on the ...
(Date:8/6/2019)... , ... August 06, 2019 , ... ... and environmental concerns. One plant-based food in particular quickly entered the limelight – ... product developers use a thermogelling and emulsifying ingredient such as methyl cellulose. This ...
(Date:8/4/2019)... PRINCETON, N.J. (PRWEB) , ... August 02, 2019 ... ... expertise to assist the life science industry in advancing the development of medical ... has been recognized by PharmaVOICE magazine as one of the “100 Most Inspiring ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/14/2019)... ... 13, 2019 , ... INDIGO Biosciences, Inc. (INDIGO), the recognized ... appointment of Mark McLoughlin to the Company’s Board of Directors. Mark brings four ... his healthcare expertise and extensive background in laboratory and scientific products manufacturing, distribution, ...
(Date:8/6/2019)... ... August 06, 2019 , ... The San Diego Biotechnology ... the biweekly SDBN BUZZ podcast focused on connecting the region’s biotech community and ... to promote the region and attract external employers, investors, scientists, and others who ...
(Date:8/4/2019)... MINNEAPOLIS (PRWEB) , ... August 02, 2019 , ... Cirtec ... minimally invasive devices, today announced that it has begun construction on a 30,000 sq. ... about 15 miles from San Jose. , The facility, which is expected to ...
(Date:7/19/2019)... ... 2019 , ... Global precision motion and piezo technology solutions ... facilities in Lederhose, Germany, increasing their current footprint by half again. , The ... addition to general office space, a significant increase to its existing 129,000ft² structure. ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: