Research Initiation Awards: Configurational Transport Processes in Reactions with Enzymes Bound to Fabricated Tailored Supports
Johannes Nitsche Principal Investigator
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The objective of this project is to investigate the configurational transport processes that underline site- specific reaction with soluble and immobilized enzymes, via theoretical, numerical and experimental techniques. The specific goals are: (1) to further the understanding of confined transitional, rotational and conformational diffusion of macromolecular substrates in fine pores; (2) to develop a predictive theory describing the interplay between these configurational modes of transport and site-specific binding steps fundamental to enzymatic reactions; (3) to work the detailed diffusion-reactions theory evolved into a comprehensive computer-aided methodology for optimization of conversion rates with respect to structural and physicochemical support properties; (4) to aid the development of industrial applications of immobilized enzymes via detailed study of large- substrates binding and other phenomena of practical relevance; and (5) to fabricate porous carriers with tailored microstructures and test them experimentally. This work will furnish an experimentally-supported fundamental transport framework for analyzing site-specific diffusion- reaction processes. Its practical value derives from its quantification of poorly understood pore-scale phenomena that mask intrinsic kinetics, for which improved understanding will empower commercial and biomedical process development.