University of New Hampshire
Mentor: Dr. Harish Vashisth, Department of Chemical Engineering
Constructing Molecular Models of Tripeptides with Sequence-Encoded Properties
A research article published in June 2017 by Lampel et al. titled, "Polymeric peptide pigments with sequence-encoded properties," demonstrated the idea that altering the order of the amino acid sequence in small subsets of peptides that self-assemble into supramolecular nanostructures, known as tripeptides, led to sequence-dependent properties, such as differences in the ultraviolet light protection, morphology, coloration, and electrochemical properties. Although yielding significant experimental results, the data provided within the published work are limited in providing molecular models of each of these tripeptides and their compositions. Without these molecular models, it is difficult to determine the combination and structure of tripeptides that resulted in the more desired outcome. Therefore, this project will be utilizing a molecular modeling and visualization software to create molecular structures of the peptides outlined within the published work to be able to decipher the differences between these tripeptide combinations and why they create such discrete, observable structures. Initial structural models of peptides will be simulated through a computer program known as NAnoscale Molecular Dynamics (NAMD). Allowing proper visualization of the composition of these peptides with tunable properties can lead to the creation of self-assembling biomaterials with applications to support a variety of fields.