Chemists who have trouble predicting how some large, complex biological molecules will react with others may soon have a solution from the world of computational quantum physics, say Purdue University researchers.
Using powerful supercomputers to analyze the interplay of the dozens of electrons that whirl in clouds about these molecules, a team of physicists led by Purdues Jorge H. Rodriguez has found that the quantum property of electrons called "spin" needs to be considered to obtain a complete and fundamental picture of how many biochemical reactions take place. In particular, a class of metal-based proteins that includes hemoglobin and chlorophyll, and their reactions in plants and animals, can be better understood with the technique.
Not only will this discovery sharpen our basic knowledge of biology, Rodriguez said, but it also could help scientists with a number of practical problems – such as selecting the best potential new drug compounds from a vast group of candidates, a process that can cost pharmaceutical companies years of work and millions of dollars.
Chad Boutin | EurekAlert!
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Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.
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A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.
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