Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors



Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Water: More Than Just a Drink

To understand electrical activity of nerve cells, the Asthagiri Lab develops simulations that show selectivity of channel proteins (in green) for potassium ions (in purple). Credit: Asthagiri Group / JHU
To understand electrical activity of nerve cells, the Asthagiri Lab develops simulations that show selectivity of channel proteins (in green) for potassium ions (in purple). Credit: Asthagiri Group / JHU

Abstract:
In his book "Life's Matrix: A biography of water," author and Nature consulting editor Philip Ball declares that water is the "weirdest liquid." Dilip Asthagiri, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, would agree. "There are very many puzzling features in all of aqueous chemistry and biology," says Asthagiri, an affiliated faculty member of the Institute for NanoBioTechnology. With a sub nanoscale diameter of about 3 Angstroms (0.3 nanometer), Asthagiri says, the water molecule is "more ‘nano' than nano" and an understanding of water is integral to this emerging science.

Water: More Than Just a Drink

Baltimore, MD | Posted on June 10th, 2008

Despite the fact that scientists have been studying water and its properties for about two centuries, Asthagiri says, it has only been in the last 15 years or so that a framework of knowledge has begun to emerge, one that attempts to connect the chemical nature of interactions in water with the physics of the aqueous solution. His particular field of research—hydration and how it affects the interaction between water and the substances dissolved in it (solutes)—is just a piece of this puzzle.

"We are trying to understand water, why solutes behave the way they do in water, and how hydration affects proteins," he says. And although he and his students study water, his labs are far from wet. The students use complex mathematical modeling to investigate why solutes behave the way they do.

Take for example, the Hofmeister effect, named for the scientist who in 1888 observed that some salts will cause a protein to fall out of solution, while others will increase protein solubility. The reasons for this behavior are not well understood.

"Protein solubility, which is an important matter for pharmaceutical companies, will be different in sodium chloride than it will be in potassium chloride, even if you adjust the concentrations of the salt to be the same." Asthagiri explains. "So there is something in the way the sodium ion interacts with water and the way the potassium ion interacts with water that is causing the difference. There is currently no compelling theory to explain this phenomenon."

Studying these properties may not seem very "sexy," Asthagiri says, but chemistry and biology are full of such conundrums. "If I want to make any progress, I will have to address them."

Before coming to Johns Hopkins, Asthagiri worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he was first a postdoctoral researcher and then a staff scientist. He says his move to Hopkins has allowed him the opportunity to interact with students as a mentor and teacher. Currently, Asthagiri has three graduate students and says he is happiest when heavily involved in the development of his students' projects.

For more information on the Asthagiri lab, visit: http://shiva.che.jhu.edu/index.html

Lamia Wahba, pre-doctoral student in biology and a member of the Institute for NanoBioTechnology's IGERT program, contributed to this article, which was written as part of the Intersession 2008 course requirements of Science Writing for Scientists and Engineers. IGERT stands for Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship.

####

About Institute for NanoBioTechnology
The Institute for NanoBioTechnology at Johns Hopkins University is revolutionizing health care by bringing together internationally renowned expertise in medicine, engineering, the sciences, and public health to create new knowledge and groundbreaking technologies.

INBT programs in research, education, outreach, and technology transfer are designed to foster the next wave of nanobiotechnology innovation.

Approximately 155 faculty are affiliated with INBT and are also members of the following Johns Hopkins institutions: Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Whiting School of Engineering, School of Medicine, Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Applied Physics Laboratory.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
* Institute for NanoBioTechnology
214 Maryland Hall
3400 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218

* Email:
* Phone: (410) 516-3423
* Fax: (410) 516-2355

Copyright © Institute for NanoBioTechnology

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Atom-thick CCD could capture images: Rice University scientists develop two-dimensional, light-sensitive material December 20th, 2014

Oregon researchers glimpse pathway of sunlight to electricity: Collaboration with Lund University uses modified UO spectroscopy equipment to study 'maze' of connections in photoactive quantum dots December 19th, 2014

Instant-start computers possible with new breakthrough December 19th, 2014

Aculon Hires New Business Development Director December 19th, 2014

Announcements

Atom-thick CCD could capture images: Rice University scientists develop two-dimensional, light-sensitive material December 20th, 2014

Oregon researchers glimpse pathway of sunlight to electricity: Collaboration with Lund University uses modified UO spectroscopy equipment to study 'maze' of connections in photoactive quantum dots December 19th, 2014

Instant-start computers possible with new breakthrough December 19th, 2014

Aculon Hires New Business Development Director December 19th, 2014

Water

Unraveling the light of fireflies December 17th, 2014

Biomimetic dew harvesters: Understanding how a desert beetle harvests water from dew could improve drinking water collection in dew condensers December 8th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Refine Wastewater of Nuclear Power Plants Using Nanoparticles December 1st, 2014

Iranian Experts Clean Uranium-Contaminated Water by Nano-Particles November 23rd, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE