Sunday, November 28, 2010


I am writing this blog as I procrastinate writing the final exam for my BioNano class this fall. During the class, student picked current peer reviewed journal articles and presented them in a short Pecha Kucha format. This means presenting 20 PPT with 20 sec per slide. Topics ranged from applications of gold nanoparticles for lung cancer detection, the effects of feeding Buckyballs to mice, and antimicrobial properties of nanosilver. Students in the class were required to read the papers chosen by their classmates and write up a list of questions (collected for a grade). I thought the format worked out well. Very short presentations followed by fairly animated dialogue (for a 9:30 AM class).

Since the students chose the articles, some were very familiar to me but some were quite unexpected. One of the more interesting topics that I learned about was making tectosquares that are RNA sequences that self assemble into ladder-like nanostructures. In the paper listed below, they used nanogold particles to quantify the spacing. Very Elegant.
Controlled Spacing of Cationic Gold Nanoparticles by Nanocrown RNA
Alexey Y. Koyfman,§,† Gary Braun,§ Sergei Magonov,‡ Arkadiusz Chworos,§ Norbert O. Reich,§,† and Luc Jaeger*,§,† J. AM. CHEM. SOC. 2005, 127, 11886-11887

Saturday, November 6, 2010

ice and water

The phase transitions between frozen and liquid H2O are so critical to human survivial that we have developed words - Ice and water - To describe these important but not so different events.
Normally phase changes are described by simple subscripts but water is different because it is so vital. How is ice different from liquid water?
Look at these simulations