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Bio-nano research proves a winner

Mon, 07 Apr 2014 14:32:00 +1000

Two researchers in IFM's Bio/Nanomaterials group have been recognised by their fellows for their research and communication skills. Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Pablo Palafox-Hernandez won the prize for best oral presentation and PhD student Kurt Drew was nominated for the Best Poster prize at the Fall Meeting of the Materials Research Society in Boston.

Pablo’s presentation on bio-nano materials was titled ‘Towards an Atomistic Understanding of Binding Principles for Gold-Binding Peptides’ and was about his work to generate systematic rules for designing new peptides that will selectively bind to gold nano particles.

“To tackle this problem we use state-of-the-art molecular modelling techniques," Pablo explains. "This research has many potential applications, such as for self-assembly nano materials, bio sensors, and optical and electrical devices.” Pablo’s presentation was selected from more than 80 presentations in the Modelling Symposium.

Kurt’s poster was titled ‘Atomistic Modelling of a DNA-Hairpin at the Aqueous Au(111) Interface’. Kurt explains the poster was about studying the conformational changes of a DNA-hairpin when the temperature is increased and the effect that a gold surface has on these changes.

“We are using molecular dynamic simulations to model this phenomenon. The purpose is to assess the suitability of the DNA hairpin as a linker that changes length with temperature, as this has potential applications in self-assembling nano materials,biosensors, electrical and optical devices.”

Although Kurt didn't win the prize, his poster was selected from thousands, so just being nominated was a great achievement. All poster nominees were given the opportunity to record a short online presentation on the MRS website. Kurt’s presentation can be viewed at:

Pablo Palafox-Hernandez and Kurt Drew with Kurt's poster.

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27th February 2015