Hydrophobins are a class of proteins produced by filamentous fungi in soil. Preliminary experiments suggest that these proteins can encapsulate gases, organic molecules and even polymers into cylindrical ‘sausages’. These observations suggest that hydrophobins have a striking surface activity, which can be useful in applications in oil dispersion and polymers processing. However, a fundamental understanding of the molecular mechanisms behind these interfacial properties of hydrophobins is still lacking. In this talk I will give an overview of our ongoing molecular dynamics (MD) simulations in this area, where we have modeled all relevant molecules using all-atom and coarse-grained representations. Our simulations can provide molecular-level information that can be very difficult to obtain from experiments, and can lead to useful insights in these systems.
Francisco R. Hung is currently the Paul M. Horton Associate Professor in the Cain Department of Chemical Engineering, and an Adjunct in the Center for Computation and Technology at Louisiana State University. He has an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from Universidad Simón Bolívar in Caracas, Venezuela, and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from North Carolina State University. After working two years as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he joined the faculty at LSU in Fall 2007. Honors include an LSU Rainmaker Emerging Scholar Award in 2014, a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation in 2013, and a Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award from Oak Ridge Associated Universities in 2008. His research program is focused on investigating different interfacial systems using molecular simulation. Current research interests in his group include ionic liquids and deep eutectic solvents, adsorption in nanoporous materials, organic contaminants in environmental interfaces, surface-active proteins, and molten metals and alloys. His research is relevant to environmental studies and to applications in nanomaterials and advanced manufacturing.
LSU Cain Department of Chemical Engineering, and Center for Computation and Technology