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Protein folding and macromolecular dynamics : fundamental limits of length and time scales


Lin, Milo M. (2012) Protein folding and macromolecular dynamics : fundamental limits of length and time scales. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology.


In this thesis, physics-based models of protein folding at the secondary and tertiary level are developed to resolve long-standing issues of protein folding kinetics. As discussed in the Introduction, the main objective is to provide fundamental limits on the length and time scales involved in protein folding. Protein folding is also placed within the broader context of macromolecular dynamics, which is extensively studied in the unfolded, folded, and unfolding regimes for the key molecular motifs of cellular biochemistry, including lipids, nucleic acids, and proteins. The effect of the water hydration and temperature are systematically probed to elucidate the crucial role of the environment in macromolecular stability and dynamics. For a wide range of bio-molecular phenomena, the observed collective behavior is shown to arise directly from first principles. Throughout, the emphasis is on analytic results free of tunable parameters, supported by ensemble-converging computational simulations, and corroborated by experimental evidence.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:protein folding; levinthal paradox; macromolecular dynamics; alpha-helix; hydrophobic effect
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Awards:Milton and Francis Clauser Doctoral Prize, 2012
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Zewail, Ahmed H.
Thesis Committee:
  • Zewail, Ahmed H. (chair)
  • Cross, Michael Clifford
  • Miller, Thomas F.
  • Rees, Douglas C.
  • Tombrello, Thomas A.
Defense Date:16 May 2012
Funding AgencyGrant Number
DOE CSGF (Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship)DE-FG02-97ER25308
Krell InstituteUNSPECIFIED
U.S. Department of EnergyUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05282012-103610958
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7082
Deposited By: Milo Lin
Deposited On:30 May 2012 21:10
Last Modified:26 Dec 2012 04:43

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