ChEMS Seminar: Computational Nanoscience of Functional Biomaterials & Complex Fluids

McDonnell Douglas Engineering Auditorium
Hung D. Nguyen, Assistant Professor
Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science
University of California, Irvine
ABSTRACT: The overall theme of my group’s research is to elucidate the fundamental principles that govern self-assembly of nanoscale structures in biological systems and ion complexes in phase-separating fluids using computational and theoretical methods. We aim to understand how environmental conditions impact the formation, functionality and performance of these nanostructures and ion complexes for useful applications in bioengineering, nanotechnology and sustainable energy. In this talk, I will present some of our recent works on self-assembly in biological systems via Molecular Dynamics simulations using multiscale models that we have developed to represent protein, DNA and polymer. I will focus on the molecular-level mechanisms by which peptide-polymer conjugated molecules called peptide amphiphiles are self-assembled into nanostructures for tissue engineering and delivery applications. Also, I will discuss our study of self-assembly to form nanoscale biostructures using DNA building blocks. These DNA nanostructures have many useful applications in nanoscience and nanotechnology to fabricate analytical biosensors, build biofuel cells and biomolecule-based devices, and develop biocomputing systems for information processing.
BIO: Dr. Nguyen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science at UC Irvine. He received his B.S. degree in chemical engineering from the University of Florida. He then received his Ph.D. in chemical & biomolecular engineering from the North Carolina State University in 2004 under the guidance of Prof. Carol K. Hall. Subsequently, he carried out his postdoctoral research at the Scripps Research Institute and the University of Michigan with Prof. Charles L. Brooks III in molecular biology, computational chemistry and biophysics. Since joining UC Irvine in 2009, his research group has been developing multi-scale modeling methods for molecular dynamics simulations of biological assemblies containing amino acids, nucleic acids and polymer. His recent works have focused on designing stimuli-responsive biomaterials, encapsulation of siRNA for gene delivery and DNA/RNA hybridization and self-assembly. Moreover, he is also working on elucidating molecular-level phase separation process of complex fluids to extract metal ions from used nuclear fuels via atomistic simulations.