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Molecules that Like Each Other

Participants: Alicia Mullaley and Dr. Alison McCurdy
Support by NSF (DMR-0351848) is appreciated

Scientists who understand the nature of a stabilizing force between molecules, or between parts of the same molecule, can incorporate this force systematically into the design of new materials. This molecular engineering can result in unique and beneficial stability or functionality. The McCurdy group at CSULA strives to generate new knowledge about a specific stabilizing force in protein-like molecules that will guide the development of materials with useful properties. Specifically, PREM-funded MS student Alicia Mullaley is attempting to understand interactions of the cation-pi type using synthetic peptides. Alicia has determined the strength of the interaction for a number of helical peptidic molecules and is currently analyzing this data to determine the relative importance of various structural features on the strength of the interaction. These fundamental studies on the cation-pi interaction will have future impact on the molecular design of new materials.

Figure 1. Circular dichroism spectra of Y/K peptides.