Weidong Zhang has been awarded $810,469 by the US Army - Army Research Office for research on First Principal And Hybrid Molecular Modeling Development For Novel Bio-Sensing And Bio-Medical Research Applications. The award will run from October 1st, 2011 to July 31st, 2012.
Research Abstract - The objective of this research is to explore the development of first principal and hybrid first principal quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical (QM/MM) simulation techniques that can help to discover novel bio-organic electronic functionalities and test these emerging physics-based modeling approaches in biological (bio) electronic and bio-chemical scenarios and sensing applications. More specifically, this research will focus on studying molecular conformations, electronic structure of ground and excited states, dynamics of bio-molecular systems and nanostructures that have relevance to future electronic systems and bio-chemical applications of interest to the U.S. Army and U.S. Department of Defense. This project seeks to support the development of novel functionality including portable, light-weight nano-sensors of bio-warfare or chemical threat agents to be used on a battlefield. For example, a sensing material using functionalized DNA origami panels as unit cells is envisioned where target-molecule- induced change in the tensor dielectric function produces a measurable diffraction of a wave transmitting through the material. Also, the scientific exploration in this project will be directed toward a research of fundamental mechanisms of stem cell growth with the goal to identify opportunities for novel medical treatments with regenerative capabilities for injured military and civilian personnel that have a potential to dramatically improve outcomes.