Department of Physics - Research Seminar in Biophysics presented by Dr. C. Dias

Event Date: 
Wednesday, July 25, 2018 - 1:00pm
Event Location: 
ATAC 2020
Event Contact Name: 
Dr. Apichart Linhananta
Event Contact Phone: 
807-343-8016
Event Contact E-mail: 

The Department of Physics invites you to attend a Research Seminar in Biophysics:

DR. CRISTIANO L. DIAS
Assistant Professor, Department of Physics
New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT)

"Computer simulation of the amyloid-beta protein associated with Alzheimer's disease"

Wednesday, July 25, 2018
at 1:00 p.m. in AT2020

Abstract: More than 20 different amyloid diseases have been identified to date including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. They represent a daunting challenge for society as  Alzheimer’s alone is expected to afflict 100 million patients by 2050. One of the hallmarks of these diseases is the accumulation of plaques around cells that disrupt healthy function of tissues and organs. These  plaques  emerge from a self-assembly process   in  which  peptides   aggregate into soluble  oligomers  and amyloid fibrils. Small compounds that can interact specifically with oligomers  and destabilize amyloid fibrils are expected to become an important part in the treatment for amyloid diseases.  Also, they may be used as templates for new generations of biomarkers in medical imaging[1].In this presentation, I will provide an overview of ongoing projects in my lab where we are using computer simulations of all-atom models to understand at the atomic level (i) peptide aggregation into oligomers and fibrils, (ii) how small compounds can be used to control this aggregation process, and (iii) toxic effects of amyloid aggregates on cell membraneIf time permits, I will also discuss ongoing efforts in my group to understand at the atomic level effects of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) on the stability of proteins [2]. TMAO has been related to cardiovascular diseases and it is known to stabilize native proteins against water stresses. A case in point is deep-sea  animals  that counteract effects of hydrostatic pressure by increasing the concentration of TMAO in their muscles.

Bio: Cristiano Dias is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics at the New Jersey Institute of Technology(NJIT).  He earned a PhD degree in Physics from McGill University and he has post-doctoral training from University of Toronto (in Biochemistry), Western University (in Applied Mathematics), and Freie Universitat Berlin (in Physics).  His research interests are in computational biophysics and they lie at the interface of Chemistry, Biology, and Physics. His group develops and uses multiscale models that can bridge atomistic and mesoscopic length scales to provide abetter understanding of biological systems.

[1] Klunk, William E.,et al. Imaging brain amyloid in Alzheimer's disease with Pittsburgh Compound- B. Annals  of  Neurology:Official Journal of  the American Neurological  Association and the Child Neurology Society 55, 306(2004).

[2]ZhaoqianSu, FarbodMahmoudinobar,and Cristiano Dias, Role of TMAO on the conformation ofpeptides and its implication for proteins, Phys. Rev.Letters 119, 108102(2017)