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Guest Lecture - Rex Jung

Terrill Yazzie

Gabriel A. Montano, Ph.D. explained the current research being done at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies here in Albuquerque, NM. There is a goal in nanotechnology to investigate the nano-level in an attempt to compose a mirco-level working system. From Dr. Montano's perspective, most of the science integrated into studying the nano-science level has been inspired by nature. His lab overlaps the fields of chemistry, biology, physics, and engineering with colleagues who work with a variety of microscopy equipment that range from TEM to a scanning probe microscope. One interesting piece of microscopy equipment that he is currently working with is the Atomic force microscopy. He explained the physics incorporated in Atomic force microscopy in a simple way for us to understand how it operates. Using this technology, he is attempting to characterize photosynthetic molecules called chlorosomes found in the lipid bilayer of bacteria. When studying this photosynthetic molecule, his team asks different questions about the molecules or system from different perspectives. One question he proposed from a biological point is: How does an efficient photosystem harvest light and energy transfer system optimize while adjusting to variable conditions? Another question from a materials perspective is: What can we learn about the optimization of light harvesting to help in materials design? One problem of great importance is how to get 3-D information from a 2-D source, which is one of the main problems Dr. Montano faces in nanotechnology microscopy. He also explained his course of school work and interest that lead him to his degree status and stressed the importance of working from an inter-disciplinary approach to learn other areas of science not in our area of study.

Final ideas: Prepare, Practice, Produce, and Preserve.

3 Questions

  1. What other organisms have chlorosomes besides bacteria?
  2. What other types of microscopy equipment have you used in a non-conventional manner, which was creative in another endeavor?
  3. If a solar panel is like a leaf, what understanding of a leaves photosystem can make the solar panel efficient?

3 Future directions

  1. use the atomic force microscope in toxicology to measure the differences of toxins/drugs binding affinity to certain enzymes to add more information to the quantitative data of toxins and drugs.
  2. Since anti-bodies are utilized using the atomic force microscopy, they could use the antibodies in investigating what antibodies will bind to the protein spikes on HIV to develop synthetic anti-viral drugs.
  3. Use current knowledge about creativity, especially divergent thinking, to develop novel psych test that explore the brain and creativity, rather than quantify it.