Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences Seminar Series - Dr. Andrew Miskowiec-

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Location: 210 DeBartolo Hall

The role of water in biological systems is fundamental.  In fact, the interaction of water with proteins is the driving force for determining their ultimate shape. This protein folding problem is front and center in biology and medicine as many diseases are caused by proteins adopting an incorrect shape and being unable to perform their function.  As an attempt to shed light on the question of water in biological systems, we used quasielastic neutron scattering to study the motion of water in the vicinity of model cell membranes. The detailed, atomic scale information that can be obtained from these measurements can provide foundational knowledge for future studies with proteins and larger molecules.  Currently, I am a post-doc at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the Nuclear Science and Engineering Directorate.  I am extending my knowledge of quasielastic neutron scattering by studying the motion of water in uranium compounds. These materials behave similarly to concrete, adopting new structures and curing over the course of months or years.  We can document the changes in the motion of water inside these materials to fingerprint their age.