Date: Friday, 9th November, 2012
Location: Brown theatre, Electrical Engineering Bldg, the University of Melbourne
Description: Life has a remarkable ability to adapt to seemingly hostile environments. At sub-zero temperatures certain organisms would face the risk of freezing if it were not for the antifreeze proteins (AFPs) they harbour in their body fluids. AFPs are thought to inhibit the growth of ice by adsorption to the surface thereby inducing curvature and freezing inhibition via the Kelvin effect.
To demonstrate the molecular details of this phenomenon experimentally has, however, eluded us due to the difficult nature of observing this detail at the ice/water interface. Computational methods are now advanced enough to perform simulations not only clearly demonstrating the Kelvin effect and but also giving molecular insight into the ice binding process.
Dr. Mike Kuiper, Computational Molecular Scientist for the Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative (VLSCI)
Mike’s expertise has taken him on numerous expeditions to Antarctica, where he studied the physiological response of fish to ice particles. Additionally, his knowledge of molecular modeling using high-performance computing has helped local and international research groups perform molecular simulations of protein folding and drug-binding on supercomputers and GPU clusters.