Fluid Dynamics Seminar

Wednesday, March 24, 2010, 4:00 PM
Cullimore Hall 611
New Jersey Institute of Technology


Protein assemblies at flowing interfaces: 2D crystallization and amyloid formation

Amir H. Hirsa


Dept. Mechanical Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute



The ability to utilize detailed knowledge of the structure of proteins and to define their interactions with ligands has enabled many advances in our understanding of biological systems and the rational design of new drugs. However, the most powerful techniques for obtaining detailed description of the protein structure require that the protein first be crystallized. In contrast to growing 3D protein crystals in the bulk, 2D protein crystallization greatly simplifies both the theoretical and experimental aspects of protein studies. Here, we report on 2D protein crystallization observed under conditions where in the absence of flow, crystallization fails to occur. Even under conditions where crystallization does occur in quiescent systems, we have found that flow can accelerate the crystallization process. Through experiments and comparisons with numerical simulations, we have correlated the enhancement with large shear in the plane of the interface. We will also report on experimental observations of the effects of flow on amyloid formation process; amyloid fibril formation has been implicated in several diseases such as Alzheimers and Huntingtons.



Amir Hirsa received his undergraduate degree from San Jose State University and went on to receive his MS and PhD at the University of Michigan, working with the late Bill Willmarth. He has been at RPI throughout his professional career, now a Professor in the department of Mechanical Engineering with a joint appointment in the department of Chemical & Biological Engineering. He is an experimenter by training and his interests are primarily in problems of interfacial flow, including monolayer hydrodynamics and capillary instability.