Matching Items (15)

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Engineered Hydrogen Production in Heliobacteria using Clostridial Hydrogenase: A Probe for Understanding Cell Physiology

Description

Heliobacteria are an anaerobic phototroph that require carbon sources such as pyruvate, <br/>lactate, or acetate for growth (Sattley, et. al. 2008). They are known for having one of the <br/>simplest

Heliobacteria are an anaerobic phototroph that require carbon sources such as pyruvate, <br/>lactate, or acetate for growth (Sattley, et. al. 2008). They are known for having one of the <br/>simplest phototrophic systems, the central component of which is a Type I reaction center (RC) <br/>that pumps protons to generate the electrochemical gradient for making ATP. Heliobacteria <br/>preform cyclic electron flow (CEF) with the RC in the light but can also grow chemotropically in <br/>the dark. Many anaerobes like heliobacteria, such as other members of the class Clostridia, <br/>possess the capability to produce hydrogen via a hydrogenase enzyme in the cell, as protons can <br/>serve as an electron acceptor in anaerobic metabolism. However, the species of heliobacteria <br/>studied here, H. modesticaldum have been seen to produce hydrogen via their nitrogenase <br/>enzyme but not when this enzyme is inactive. This study aimed to investigate if the reason for <br/>their lack of hydrogen production was due to a lack of an active hydrogenase enzyme, possibly <br/>indicating that the genes required for activity were lost by an H. modesticaldum ancestor. This <br/>was done by introducing genes encoding a clostridial [FeFe] hydrogenase from C. thermocellum<br/>via conjugation and measuring hydrogen production in the transformant cells. Transformant cells <br/>produced hydrogen and cells without the genes did not, meaning that the heliobacteria ferredoxin <br/>was capable of donating electrons to the foreign hydrogenase to make hydrogen. Because the <br/>[FeFe] hydrogenase must receive electrons from the cytosolic ferredoxin, it was hypothesized <br/>that hydrogen production in heliobacteria could be used to probe the redox state of the ferredoxin <br/>pool in conditions of varying electron availability. Results of this study showed that hydrogen <br/>production was affected by electron availability variations due to varying pyruvate <br/>concentrations in the media, light vs dark environment, use acetate as a carbon source, and being <br/>provided external electron donors. Hydrogen production, therefore, was predicted to be an <br/>effective indicator of electron availability in the reduced ferredoxin pool.

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  • 2021-05

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Contact and length dependent effects in single-molecule electronics

Description

Understanding charge transport in single molecules covalently bonded to electrodes is a fundamental goal in the field of molecular electronics. In the past decade, it has become possible to measure

Understanding charge transport in single molecules covalently bonded to electrodes is a fundamental goal in the field of molecular electronics. In the past decade, it has become possible to measure charge transport on the single-molecule level using the STM break junction method. Measurements on the single-molecule level shed light on charge transport phenomena which would otherwise be obfuscated by ensemble measurements of groups of molecules. This thesis will discuss three projects carried out using STM break junction. In the first project, the transition between two different charge transport mechanisms is reported in a set of molecular wires. The shortest wires show highly length dependent and temperature invariant conductance behavior, whereas the longer wires show weakly length dependent and temperature dependent behavior. This trend is consistent with a model whereby conduction occurs by coherent tunneling in the shortest wires and by incoherent hopping in the longer wires. Measurements are supported with calculations and the evolution of the molecular junction during the pulling process is investigated. The second project reports controlling the formation of single-molecule junctions by means of electrochemically reducing two axial-diazonium terminal groups on a molecule, thereby producing direct Au-C covalent bonds in-situ between the molecule and gold electrodes. Step length analysis shows that the molecular junction is significantly more stable, and can be pulled over a longer distance than a comparable junction created with amine anchoring bonds. The stability of the junction is explained by the calculated lower binding energy associated with the direct Au-C bond compared with the Au-N bond. Finally, the third project investigates the role that molecular conformation plays in the conductance of oligothiophene single-molecule junctions. Ethyl substituted oligothiophenes were measured and found to exhibit temperature dependent conductance and transition voltage for molecules with between two and six repeat units. While the molecule with only one repeat unit shows temperature invariant behavior. Density functional theory calculations show that at higher temperatures the oligomers with multiple repeat units assume a more planar conformation, which increases the conjugation length and decreases the effective energy barrier of the junction.

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  • 2013

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Electrical and thermal transport in alternative device technologies

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The goal of this research work is to develop a particle-based device simulator for modeling strained silicon devices. Two separate modules had to be developed for that purpose: A generic

The goal of this research work is to develop a particle-based device simulator for modeling strained silicon devices. Two separate modules had to be developed for that purpose: A generic bulk Monte Carlo simulation code which in the long-time limit solves the Boltzmann transport equation for electrons; and an extension to this code that solves for the bulk properties of strained silicon. One scattering table is needed for conventional silicon, whereas, because of the strain breaking the symmetry of the system, three scattering tables are needed for modeling strained silicon material. Simulation results for the average drift velocity and the average electron energy are in close agreement with published data. A Monte Carlo device simulation tool has also been employed to integrate the effects of self-heating into device simulation for Silicon on Insulator devices. The effects of different types of materials for buried oxide layers have been studied. Sapphire, Aluminum Nitride (AlN), Silicon dioxide (SiO2) and Diamond have been used as target materials of interest in the analysis and the effects of varying insulator layer thickness have also been investigated. It was observed that although AlN exhibits the best isothermal behavior, diamond is the best choice when thermal effects are accounted for.

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  • 2013

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A computational and theoretical study of conductance in hydrogen-bonded molecular junctions

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This thesis is devoted to the theoretical and computational study of electron transport in molecular junctions where one or more hydrogen bonds are involved in the process. While electron transport

This thesis is devoted to the theoretical and computational study of electron transport in molecular junctions where one or more hydrogen bonds are involved in the process. While electron transport through covalent bonds has been extensively studied, in recent work the focus has been shifted towards hydrogen-bonded systems due to their ubiquitous presence in biological systems and their potential in forming nano- junctions between molecular electronic devices and biological systems.

This analysis allows us to significantly expand our comprehension of the experimentally observed result that the inclusion of hydrogen bonding in a molecular junc- tion significantly impacts its transport properties, a fact that has important implications for our understanding of transport through DNA, and nano-biological interfaces in general. In part of this work I have explored the implications of quasiresonant transport in short chains of weakly-bonded molecular junctions involving hydrogen bonds. I used theoretical and computational analysis to interpret recent experiments and explain the role of Fano resonances in the transmission properties of the junction.

In a different direction, I have undertaken the study of the transversal conduction through nucleotide chains that involve a variable number of different hydrogen bonds, e.g. NH···O, OH···O, and NH···N, which are the three most prevalent hydrogen bonds in biological systems and organic electronics. My effort here has fo- cused on the analysis of electronic descriptors that allow a simplified conceptual and computational understanding of transport properties. Specifically, I have expanded our previous work where the molecular polarizability was used as a conductance de- scriptor to include the possibility of atomic and bond partitions of the molecular polarizability. This is important because it affords an alternative molecular descrip- tion of conductance that is not based on the conventional view of molecular orbitals as transport channels. My findings suggest that the hydrogen-bond networks are crucial in understanding the conductance of these junctions.

A broader impact of this work pertains the fact that characterizing transport through hydrogen bonding networks may help in developing faster and cost-effective approaches to personalized medicine, to advance DNA sequencing and implantable electronics, and to progress in the design and application of new drugs.

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Date Created
  • 2017

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Electronic single molecule measurements with the scanning tunneling microscope

Description

Richard Feynman said “There’s plenty of room at the bottom”. This inspired the techniques to improve the single molecule measurements. Since the first single molecule study was in 1961, it

Richard Feynman said “There’s plenty of room at the bottom”. This inspired the techniques to improve the single molecule measurements. Since the first single molecule study was in 1961, it has been developed in various field and evolved into powerful tools to understand chemical and biological property of molecules. This thesis demonstrates electronic single molecule measurement with Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM) and two of applications of STM; Break Junction (BJ) and Recognition Tunneling (RT). First, the two series of carotenoid molecules with four different substituents were investigated to show how substituents relate to the conductance and molecular structure. The measured conductance by STM-BJ shows that Nitrogen induces molecular twist of phenyl distal substituents and conductivity increasing rather than Carbon. Also, the conductivity is adjustable by replacing the sort of residues at phenyl substituents. Next, amino acids and peptides were identified through STM-RT. The distribution of the intuitive features (such as amplitude or width) are mostly overlapped and gives only a little bit higher separation probability than random separation. By generating some features in frequency and cepstrum domain, the classification accuracy was dramatically increased. Because of large data size and many features, supporting vector machine (machine learning algorithm for big data) was used to identify the analyte from a data pool of all analytes RT data. The STM-RT opens a possibility of molecular sequencing in single molecule level. Similarly, carbohydrates were studied by STM-RT. Carbohydrates are difficult to read the sequence, due to their huge number of possible isomeric configurations. This study shows that STM-RT can identify not only isomers of mono-saccharides and disaccharides, but also various mono-saccharides from a data pool of eleven analytes. In addition, the binding affinity between recognition molecule and analyte was investigated by comparing with surface plasmon resonance. In present, the RT technique is applying to chip type sequencing device onto solid-state nanopore to read out glycosaminoglycans which is ubiquitous to all mammalian cells and controls biological activities.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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Energy and the environment: electrochemistry of electron transport pathways in anode-respiring bacteria and energy technology and climate change in science textbooks

Description

The finite supply of current energy production materials has created opportunities for the investigation of alternative energy sources in many fields. One example is the use of microorganisms in

The finite supply of current energy production materials has created opportunities for the investigation of alternative energy sources in many fields. One example is the use of microorganisms in bioenergy applications, such as microbial fuel cells. Present in many types of environments, microorganisms with the ability to respire solid electron acceptors have become of increasing relevance to alternative energy and wastewater treatment research. In this dissertation, several aspects of anode respiration are investigated, with the goal of increasing the limited understanding of the mechanisms of electron transport through the use of advanced electrochemical methods. Biofilms of Geobacter sulfurreducens, the model anode respiring organism, as well as its alkaliphilic relative, Geoalkalibacter ferrihydriticus, were investigated using chronoamperometry, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, and cyclic voltammetry.

In G. sulfurreducens, two distinct pathways of electron transport were observed through the application of advanced electrochemical techniques on anode biofilms in microbial electrochemical cells. These pathways were found to be preferentially expressed, based on the poised anode potential (redox potential) of the electrode. In Glk. ferrihydriticus, four pathways for electron transport were found, showing an even greater diversity in electron transport pathway utilization as compared to G. sulfurreducens. These observations provide insights into the diversity of electron transport pathways present in anode-respiring bacteria and introduce the necessity of further characterization for pathway identification.

Essential to science today, communication of pressing scientific issues to the lay audience may present certain difficulties. This can be seen especially with the topics that are considered socio-scientific issues, those considered controversial in society but not for scientists. This dissertation explores the presentation of alternative and renewable energy technologies and climate change in undergraduate education. In introductory-level Biology, Chemistry, and Physics textbooks, the content and terminology presented were analyzed for individual textbooks and used to evaluate discipline-based trends. Additional extensions were made between teaching climate change with the active learning technique of citizen science using past research gains from studies of evolution. These observations reveal patterns in textbook content for energy technologies and climate change, as well as exploring new aspects of teaching techniques.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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Molecular models for conductance in junctions and electrochemical electron transfer

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This thesis develops molecular models for electron transport in molecular junctions and intra-molecular electron transfer. The goal is to identify molecular descriptors that afford a substantial simplification of these electronic

This thesis develops molecular models for electron transport in molecular junctions and intra-molecular electron transfer. The goal is to identify molecular descriptors that afford a substantial simplification of these electronic processes.

First, the connection between static molecular polarizability and the molecular conductance is examined. A correlation emerges whereby the measured conductance of a tunneling junction decreases as a function of the calculated molecular polarizability for several systems, a result consistent with the idea of a molecule as a polarizable dielectric. A model based on a macroscopic extension of the Clausius-Mossotti equation to the molecular domain and Simmon’s tunneling model is developed to explain this correlation. Despite the simplicity of the theory, it paves the way for further experimental, conceptual and theoretical developments in the use of molecular descriptors to describe both conductance and electron transfer.

Second, the conductance of several biologically relevant, weakly bonded, hydrogen-bonded systems is systematically investigated. While there is no correlation between hydrogen bond strength and conductance, the results indicate a relation between the conductance and atomic polarizability of the hydrogen bond acceptor atom. The relevance of these results to electron transfer in biological systems is discussed.

Hydrogen production and oxidation using catalysts inspired by hydrogenases provides a more sustainable alternative to the use of precious metals. To understand electrochemical and spectroscopic properties of a collection of Fe and Ni mimics of hydrogenases, high-level density functional theory calculations are described. The results, based on a detailed analysis of the energies, charges and molecular orbitals of these metal complexes, indicate the importance of geometric constraints imposed by the ligand on molecular properties such as acidity and electrocatalytic activity. Based on model calculations of several intermediates in the catalytic cycle of a model NiFe complex, a hypothetical reaction mechanism, which very well agrees with the observed experimental results, is proffered.

Future work related to this thesis may involve the systematic analysis of chemical reactivity in constrained geometries, a subject of importance if the context of enzymatic activity. Another, more intriguing direction is related to the fundamental issue of reformulating Marcus theory in terms of the molecular dielectric response function.

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  • 2015

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Synthesis, biochemical and pharmacological evaluation of rationally designed multifunctional radical quenchers

Description

Mitochondria are crucial intracellular organelles which play a pivotal role in providing energy to living organisms in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) coupled

Mitochondria are crucial intracellular organelles which play a pivotal role in providing energy to living organisms in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) coupled with oxidative phosphorylation (OX-PHOS) transforms the chemical energy of amino acids, fatty acids and sugars to ATP. The mitochondrial electron transport system consumes nearly 90% of the oxygen used by the cell. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the form of superoxide anions (O2*-) are generated as byproduct of cellular metabolism due to leakage of electrons from complex I and complex III to oxygen. Under normal conditions, the effects of ROS are offset by a variety of antioxidants (enzymatic and non-enzymatic).

Mitochondrial dysfunction has been proposed in the etiology of various pathologies, including cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, ischemia-reperfusion (IR) injury, diabetes and aging. To treat these disorders, it is imperative to target mitochondria, especially the electron transport chain. One of the methodologies currently used for the treatment of mitochondrial and neurodegenerative diseases where endogenous antioxidant defenses are inadequate for protecting against ROS involves the administration of exogenous antioxidants.

As part of our pursuit of effective neuroprotective drugs, a series of pyridinol and pyrimidinol analogues have been rationally designed and synthesized. All the analogues were evaluated for their ability to quench lipid peroxidation and reactive oxygen species (ROS), and preserve mitochondrial membrane potential (Δm) and support ATP synthesis. These studies are summarized in Chapter 2.

Drug discovery and lead identification can be reinforced by assessing the metabolic fate of orally administered drugs using simple microsomal incubation experiments. Accordingly, in vitro microsomal studies were designed and carried out using bovine liver microsomes to screen available pyridinol and pyrimidinol analogues for their metabolic lability. The data obtained was utilized for an initial assessment of potential bioavailability of the compounds screened and is summarized fully in Chapter 3.

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Date Created
  • 2014

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Synthesis and evaluation of multifunctional radical quenchers for the protection of mitochondrial function

Description

Mitochondria produce the majority portion of ATP required in eukaryotic cells. ATP is generated through a process known as oxidative phosphorylation, through an pathway consisting five multi subunit proteins (complex

Mitochondria produce the majority portion of ATP required in eukaryotic cells. ATP is generated through a process known as oxidative phosphorylation, through an pathway consisting five multi subunit proteins (complex I-IV and ATP synthase), embedded inside the mitochondrial membrane. Mitochondrial electron transport chain dysfunction increases reactive oxygen species in the cell and causes several serious disorders. Described herein are the synthesis of antioxidant molecules to reduce the effects in an already dysfunctional system. Also described is the study of the mitochondrial electron transport chain to understand the mechanism of action of a library of antioxidants. Illustrated in chapter 1 is the general history of research on mitochondrial dysfunction and reported ways to ameliorate them. Chapter 2 describes the design and synthesis of a series of compounds closely resembling the redox-active quinone core of the natural product geldanamycin. Geldanamycin has been reported to confer cytoprotection to FRDA lymphocytes in a dose dependent manner under conditions of induced oxidative stress. A library of rationally designed derivatives has been synthesized as a part of our pursuit of a better neuroprotective drug. Chapter 3 describes the design and synthesis of a library of pyrimidinol analogues. Compounds of this type have demonstrated the ability to quench reactive oxygen species and sustain mitochondrial membrane potential. Described herein are our efforts to increase their metabolic stability and total ATP production. It is crucial to understand the nature of interaction between a potential drug molecule and the mitochondrial electron transport chain to enable the design and synthesis a better therapeutic candidates. Chapter 4 describes a part of the enzymatic

binding studies between a molecular library synthesized in our laboratory and the mitochondrial electron transport chain using sub mitochondrial particles (SMP).

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Date Created
  • 2015

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System reconstruction via compressive sensing, complex-network dynamics and electron transport in graphene systems

Description

Complex dynamical systems consisting interacting dynamical units are ubiquitous in nature and society. Predicting and reconstructing nonlinear dynamics of units and the complex interacting networks among them serves the base

Complex dynamical systems consisting interacting dynamical units are ubiquitous in nature and society. Predicting and reconstructing nonlinear dynamics of units and the complex interacting networks among them serves the base for the understanding of a variety of collective dynamical phenomena. I present a general method to address the two outstanding problems as a whole based solely on time-series measurements. The method is implemented by incorporating compressive sensing approach that enables an accurate reconstruction of complex dynamical systems in terms of both nodal equations that determines the self-dynamics of units and detailed coupling patterns among units. The representative advantages of the approach are (i) the sparse data requirement which allows for a successful reconstruction from limited measurements, and (ii) general applicability to identical and nonidentical nodal dynamics, and to networks with arbitrary interacting structure, strength and sizes. Another two challenging problem of significant interest in nonlinear dynamics: (i) predicting catastrophes in nonlinear dynamical systems in advance of their occurrences and (ii) predicting the future state for time-varying nonlinear dynamical systems, can be formulated and solved in the framework of compressive sensing using only limited measurements. Once the network structure can be inferred, the dynamics behavior on them can be investigated, for example optimize information spreading dynamics, suppress cascading dynamics and traffic congestion, enhance synchronization, game dynamics, etc. The results can yield insights to control strategies design in the real-world social and natural systems. Since 2004, there has been a tremendous amount of interest in graphene. The most amazing feature of graphene is that there exists linear energy-momentum relationship when energy is low. The quasi-particles inside the system can be treated as chiral, massless Dirac fermions obeying relativistic quantum mechanics. Therefore, the graphene provides one perfect test bed to investigate relativistic quantum phenomena, such as relativistic quantum chaotic scattering and abnormal electron paths induced by klein tunneling. This phenomenon has profound implications to the development of graphene based devices that require stable electronic properties.

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Date Created
  • 2012