2023 Neutron Spin Echo NSSA-Funded Participants

Fundamentals of Neutron Spin Echo (NSE) Spectroscopy for Biology and Soft Matter Workshop

The 2023 Neutron Spin Echo Workshop organizers gratefully acknowledge a generous travel grant from the Neutron Scattering Society of America (NSSA). Students supported by the NSSA travel grant are listed below with excerpts from their applications:


Chaisson, Emily (Department of Chemistry, University of Tennessee at Knoxville):
Phospholipids with different chain lengths are known to affect the membrane’s fluidity in mammalian, yeast, and bacterial membranes. The chain length difference increases the extent of interdigitation, a phenomenon where the acyl chain extends past the bilayer midplane into the opposing leaflet. We employ molecular dynamic simulations, providing an atomistic approach to quantifying interdigitation. Interestingly, we found that symmetric bilayers composed of chain mismatched lipids were softer than those composed of matched chains. Similar results were obtained experimentally by NSE measurements of lipid vesicles. I am excited to learn more about NSE to better understand bending rigidity measurements and, more generally, to discover how this incredibly powerful tool can shed light on membrane dynamics for symmetric and asymmetric bilayers composed of various lipids with mismatched chains.

Albreiki, Fahed Hasan (Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles):
My doctoral research is on polyelectrolyte complex hydrogels and their utilization as adhesives. I have developed methods focusing on synthesizing, preparing, and applying such materials for diverse areas, including biomedicine, tissue engineering, and underwater adhesives. Although my understanding of such systems has progressed tremendously, I believe that understanding the fundamentals of static and quasi-elastic neutron scattering, NSE instrumentation, and NSE experimental design and data analysis will provide me with valuable insights into the characterization techniques necessary for a deeper understanding of those complex systems.

Trojanowski, Lucas (Applied Physics Program, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor):
My research focuses on understanding the nonequilibrium thermodynamic properties of fluid systems by understanding their underlying atomistic behavior. In the coming years of my Ph.D., I hope to learn more about how molecular structures affect liquids’ transport properties, conductivity, and relaxation processes. Since NSE techniques offer such a remarkably high resolution of the structure of such systems, understanding how to employ these techniques would synergize with my computational molecular dynamics background to further my ability to understand the connections between microscopic structures and bulk liquid behavior.

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