Lewen Yang successfully defended his thesis, “Line tension assisted membrane permeation at the transition temperature in mixed phase lipid bilayers” in Fall 2017. Lewen’s thesis committed was led by James T. Kindt with Joel Bowman and Michael C. Heaven as additional members.
During his time at Emory, Lewen worked on explaining a phenomenon that was first observed in the early 1970’s, that ions can move more quickly through lipid bilayers when the temperature is close to the bilayer’s melting point. At that temperature, zones of ordered lipids, which are very hard to pass through, exist next to zones of disordered lipids. The experiments suggest that the presence of the ordered lipids make the disordered lipids even more permeable than they would be on their own. The explanation proposed originally, and widely cited still, is that the boundary between these zones is exceptionally leaky. Lewen performed simulations on a highly simplified model that pointed to a different explanation – that leakage doesn’t actually occur at the interfaces themselves, but rather that the line tension of the interface exerts a tension on the disordered lipids that makes them more permeable. He followed up this study with demonstrations, using a more realistic model, that the effect of the interface on the energy barrier to permeation could be predicted quantitatively. His work has opened up a whole new perspective on an interesting phenomenon that is relevant to efforts to use thermally activated lipid containers for targeted drug release.
Lewen started a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Delaware with Prof. Ed Lyman in April, where he continues to use molecular simulation to understand lipid phase behavior.
The Emory University Department of Chemistry will host meetings in October on Ultracold Molecules and Roaming Dynamics. Organized by Joel Bowman, Michael Heaven, and Ken Brown (Georgia Tech). The meetings are funded by the Army Research Office and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.
Ultracold Molecules and Molecular Ions (October 6 and 7, 2016)
Michael C. Heaven has been named Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Chemistry. The named professorship is awarded to Emory faculty who are deemed to have considerable future promise in research and teaching. Dr. Heaven joined the Emory University Department of Chemistry in 1986. He is co-author of over 220 peer-reviewed papers published in many of the highest impact journals for the field of molecular spectroscopy. He has also supervised 22 PhD students and 11 post-doctoral fellows. His research programs are funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Defense.
Kyle Mascaritolo successfully defended his thesis, “A Journal Towards the Construction and Operation of a Photoelectron Velocity-Map Imaging Spectrometer” on Thursday, March 23rd, 2016. Kyle’s thesis committed was led by Michael Heaven with James Kindt and Susanna Widicus Weaver as additional members. After graduation, Kyle plans to pursue a postdoctoral position in gas phase molecular spectroscopy.
The Emory University Department of Chemistry congratulates Kaifeng Wu on successfully defending his thesis, “Charge Separation and Transport Dynamics in One-Dimensional Colloidal Nanostructures for Solar Energy Conversion.”
Dr. Wu’s committee was led by Tim Lian with Michael Heaven and Craig Hill as additional members. Starting this Fall, he will be a Director’s Postdoc Fellow at the Los Alamos National Lab.
Update 07/14/16: Hank is now a data scientist in the Predictive Team at Radius Intelligence in San Fransisco. Hank says: “I am working on improving our predictive model, specifically on creating new features to enhance the predictive power. The goal of our models is to predict potential customers for B2B companies.”