Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

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

Small but heading for the big time: Nanobiotix half year results for the six months ended 30 June 2015, in line with expectations: Major clinical achievements and corporate developments August 28th, 2015

A new technique to make drugs more soluble August 28th, 2015

Nanocatalysts improve processes for the petrochemical industry August 28th, 2015

Nanolab Technologies LEAPS Forward with High-Performance Analysis Services to the World: Nanolab Orders Advanced Local Electrode Atom Probe (LEAP®) Microscope from CAMECA Unit of AMETEK Materials Analysis Division August 27th, 2015

Announcements

Small but heading for the big time: Nanobiotix half year results for the six months ended 30 June 2015, in line with expectations: Major clinical achievements and corporate developments August 28th, 2015

A new technique to make drugs more soluble August 28th, 2015

Nanocatalysts improve processes for the petrochemical industry August 28th, 2015

Nanolab Technologies LEAPS Forward with High-Performance Analysis Services to the World: Nanolab Orders Advanced Local Electrode Atom Probe (LEAP®) Microscope from CAMECA Unit of AMETEK Materials Analysis Division August 27th, 2015

Water

Southampton scientists find new way to detect ortho-para conversion in water August 25th, 2015

Iranian Scientists Utilize Nanomembranes to Purify Wastewater of Olive Oil Plants August 20th, 2015

Sonocatalysts Able to Purify Organic Pollutants of Wastewater August 19th, 2015

Engineers identify how to keep surfaces dry underwater: Research team is first to identify surface 'roughness' required to achieve amazing feat August 18th, 2015

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







Car Brands
Buy website traffic