Arvind Balijepalli receives National Research Council postdoctoral fellowship

Ph.D. student Arvind Balijepalli, who will receive his degree in Mechanical Engineering this spring, has received a National Research Council postdoctoral fellowship. This two-year fellowship is awarded by the National Academies of the Sciences in the United States.

The award will allow Balijepalli to work jointly in the Physical Measurement Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Laboratory of Computational Biology within the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Balijepalli's research will quantify transport of polypeptides though protein nanopores using single-molecule mass spectroscopy (SMMS) and molecular dynamics (MD) computer simulation. It builds on the work by the Kasianowicz group at NIST on the passage of polyethylene glycol (PEG) through alpha-haemolysin, and simulation studies of PEG and assorted peptides by the Pastor group at NIH.

MD simulations of PL and PEG in alpha-haemolysin will be carried out at increasing levels of complexity. These simulations will inform the interpretation of experiments on PL carried out in parallel, and lead to the development of a predictive model for polymer transport through nanopores. Studies of other polypeptides and polymers and channels (e.g., anthrax protective antigen) will follow. Practical applications include the detection of toxins and low cost sequencing of DNA.

At Maryland, Balijepalli is advised by Professor S.K. Gupta (ME/ISR) and is a member of the Simulation-Based System Design Laboratory.

Published April 20, 2011