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Intelligent Input Parser for Organic Chemistry Reagent Questions

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Due to its difficult nature, organic chemistry is receiving much research attention across the nation to develop more efficient and effective means to teach it. As part of that, Dr. Ian Gould at ASU is developing an online organic chemistry

Due to its difficult nature, organic chemistry is receiving much research attention across the nation to develop more efficient and effective means to teach it. As part of that, Dr. Ian Gould at ASU is developing an online organic chemistry educational website that provides help to students, adapts to their responses, and collects data about their performance. This thesis creative project addresses the design and implementation of an input parser for organic chemistry reagent questions, to appear on his website. After students used the form to submit questions throughout the Spring 2013 semester in Dr. Gould's organic chemistry class, the data gathered from their usage was analyzed, and feedback was collected. The feedback obtained from students was positive, and suggested that the input parser accomplished the educational goals that it sought to meet.

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2013-05

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DNA directed self-assembly of plasmonic nanoparticles

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Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), a biopolymer well known for its role in preserving genetic information in biology, is now drawing great deal of interest from material scientists. Ease of synthesis, predictable molecular recognition via Watson-Crick base pairing, vast numbers of available

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), a biopolymer well known for its role in preserving genetic information in biology, is now drawing great deal of interest from material scientists. Ease of synthesis, predictable molecular recognition via Watson-Crick base pairing, vast numbers of available chemical modifications, and intrinsic nanoscale size makes DNA a suitable material for the construction of a plethora of nanostructures that can be used as scaffold to organize functional molecules with nanometer precision. This dissertation focuses on DNA-directed organization of metallic nanoparticles into well-defined, discrete structures and using them to study photonic interaction between fluorophore and metal particle. Presented here are a series of studies toward this goal. First, a novel and robust strategy of DNA functionalized silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) was developed and DNA functionalized AgNPs were employed for the organization of discrete well-defined dimeric and trimeric structures using a DNA triangular origami scaffold. Assembly of 1:1 silver nanoparticle and gold nanoparticle heterodimer has also been demonstrated using the same approach. Next, the triangular origami structures were used to co-assemble gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) and fluorophores to study the distance dependent and nanogap dependencies of the photonic interactions between them. These interactions were found to be consistent with the full electrodynamic simulations. Further, a gold nanorod (AuNR), an anisotropic nanoparticle was assembled into well-defined dimeric structures with predefined inter-rod angles. These dimeric structures exhibited unique optical properties compared to single AuNR that was consistent with the theoretical calculations. Fabrication of otherwise difficult to achieve 1:1 AuNP- AuNR hetero dimer, where the AuNP can be selectively placed at the end-on or side-on positions of anisotropic AuNR has also been shown. Finally, a click chemistry based approach was developed to organize sugar modified DNA on a particular arm of a DNA origami triangle and used them for site-selective immobilization of small AgNPs.

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2012

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Programmed DNA self-assembly and logic circuits

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DNA is a unique, highly programmable and addressable biomolecule. Due to its reliable and predictable base recognition behavior, uniform structural properties, and extraordinary stability, DNA molecules are desirable substrates for biological computation and nanotechnology. The field of DNA computation has

DNA is a unique, highly programmable and addressable biomolecule. Due to its reliable and predictable base recognition behavior, uniform structural properties, and extraordinary stability, DNA molecules are desirable substrates for biological computation and nanotechnology. The field of DNA computation has gained considerable attention due to the possibility of exploiting the massive parallelism that is inherent in natural systems to solve computational problems. This dissertation focuses on building novel types of computational DNA systems based on both DNA reaction networks and DNA nanotechnology. A series of related research projects are presented here. First, a novel, three-input majority logic gate based on DNA strand displacement reactions was constructed. Here, the three inputs in the majority gate have equal priority, and the output will be true if any two of the inputs are true. We subsequently designed and realized a complex, 5-input majority logic gate. By controlling two of the five inputs, the complex gate is capable of realizing every combination of OR and AND gates of the other 3 inputs. Next, we constructed a half adder, which is a basic arithmetic unit, from DNA strand operated XOR and AND gates. The aim of these two projects was to develop novel types of DNA logic gates to enrich the DNA computation toolbox, and to examine plausible ways to implement large scale DNA logic circuits. The third project utilized a two dimensional DNA origami frame shaped structure with a hollow interior where DNA hybridization seeds were selectively positioned to control the assembly of small DNA tile building blocks. The small DNA tiles were directed to fill the hollow interior of the DNA origami frame, guided through sticky end interactions at prescribed positions. This research shed light on the fundamental behavior of DNA based self-assembling systems, and provided the information necessary to build programmed nanodisplays based on the self-assembly of DNA.

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2014

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Rational Design of Self-Assembling Crystal Scaffolds and DNA-Peptide Hybrid Materials

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Since the conception of DNA nanotechnology, the field has evolved towards the development of complex, dynamic 3D structures. The predictability of Watson-Crick base pairing makes DNA an unparalleled building block, and enables exceptional programmability in nanostructure shape and size.

Since the conception of DNA nanotechnology, the field has evolved towards the development of complex, dynamic 3D structures. The predictability of Watson-Crick base pairing makes DNA an unparalleled building block, and enables exceptional programmability in nanostructure shape and size. The work presented in this dissertation focuses on expanding two facets of the field: (1) introducing functionality through the incorporation of peptides to create DNA-peptide hybrid materials, and (2) the development of self-assembling DNA crystal lattices for scaffolding biomolecules. DNA nanostructures have long been proposed as drug delivery vehicles; however, they are not biocompatible because of their low stability in low salt environments and entrapment within the endosome. To address these issues, a functionalized peptide coating was designed to act as a counterion to a six-helix bundle, while simultaneously displaying numerous copies of an endosomal escape peptide to enable cytosolic delivery. This functionalized peptide coating creates a DNA-peptide hybrid material, but does not allow specific positioning or orientation of the peptides. The ability to control those aspects required the synthesis of DNA-peptide or DNA-peptide-DNA conjugates that can be incorporated into the nanostructure. The approach was utilized to produce a synbody where three peptides that bind transferrin with micromolar affinity, which were presented for multivalent binding to optimize affinity. Additionally, two DNA handle was attached to an enzymatically cleavable peptide to link two unique nanostructures. The second DNA handle was also used to constrain the peptide in a cyclic fashion to mimic the cell-adhesive conformations of RGD and PHSRN in fibronectin.
The original goal of DNA nanotechnology was to use a crystalline lattice made of DNA to host proteins for their structural determination using X-ray crystallography. The work presented here takes significant steps towards achieving this goal, including elucidating design rules to control cavity size within the scaffold for accommodating guest molecules of unique sizes, approaches to improve the atomic detail of the scaffold, and strategies to modulate the symmetry of each unique lattice. Finally, this work surveys methodologies towards the incorporation of several guest molecules, with promising preliminary results that constitute a significant advancement towards the ultimate goal of the field.

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2021