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ASU Electronic Theses and Dissertations


This collection includes most of the ASU Theses and Dissertations from 2011 to present. ASU Theses and Dissertations are available in downloadable PDF format; however, a small percentage of items are under embargo. Information about the dissertations/theses includes degree information, committee members, an abstract, supporting data or media.

In addition to the electronic theses found in the ASU Digital Repository, ASU Theses and Dissertations can be found in the ASU Library Catalog.

Dissertations and Theses granted by Arizona State University are archived and made available through a joint effort of the ASU Graduate College and the ASU Libraries. For more information or questions about this collection contact or visit the Digital Repository ETD Library Guide or contact the ASU Graduate College at gradformat@asu.edu.


Subject
Date Range
2010 2019


In eukaryotes, DNA is packed in a highly condensed and hierarchically organized structure called chromatin, in which DNA tightly wraps around the histone octamer consisting of one histone 3-histone 4 (H3-H4) tetramer and two histone 2A- histone 2B (H2A-H2B) dimers with 147 base pairs in an almost two left handed turns. Almost all DNA dependent cellular processes, such as DNA duplication, transcription, DNA repair and recombination, take place in the chromatin form. Based on the critical importance of appropriate chromatin condensation, this thesis focused on the folding behavior of the nucleosome array reconstituted using different templates with various controllable factors …

Contributors
Fu, Qiang, Lindsay, Stuart M, Yan, Hao, et al.
Created Date
2010

Peptides offer great promise as targeted affinity ligands, but the space of possible peptide sequences is vast, making experimental identification of lead candidates expensive, difficult, and uncertain. Computational modeling can narrow the search by estimating the affinity and specificity of a given peptide in relation to a predetermined protein target. The predictive performance of computational models of interactions of intermediate-length peptides with proteins can be improved by taking into account the stochastic nature of the encounter and binding dynamics. A theoretical case is made for the hypothesis that, because of the flexibility of the peptide and the structural complexity of …

Contributors
Emery, Jack Scott, Pizziconi, Vincent B, Woodbury, Neal W, et al.
Created Date
2010

In oxygenic photosynthesis, Photosystem I (PSI) and Photosystem II (PSII) are two transmembrane protein complexes that catalyze the main step of energy conversion; the light induced charge separation that drives an electron transfer reaction across the thylakoid membrane. Current knowledge of the structure of PSI and PSII is based on three structures: PSI and PSII from the thermophilic cyanobacterium Thermosynechococcus elonagatus and the PSI/light harvesting complex I (PSI-LHCI) of the plant, Pisum sativum. To improve the knowledge of these important membrane protein complexes from a wider spectrum of photosynthetic organisms, photosynthetic apparatus of the thermo-acidophilic red alga, Galdieria sulphuraria and …

Contributors
Thangaraj, Balakumar, Fromme, Petra, Shock, Everett, et al.
Created Date
2010

This thesis describes several experiments based on carbon nanotube nanofludic devices and field-effect transistors. The first experiment detected ion and molecule translocation through one single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) that spans a barrier between two fluid reservoirs. The electrical ionic current is measured. Translocation of small single stranded DNA oligomers is marked by large transient increases in current through the tube and confirmed by a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) analysis. Carbon nanotubes simplify the construction of nanopores, permit new types of electrical measurement, and open new avenues for control of DNA translocation. The second experiment constructed devices in which the interior …

Contributors
Cao, Di, Lindsay, Stuart, Vaiana, Sara, et al.
Created Date
2011

Nanofluidic devices in which one single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) spans a barrier between two fluid reservoirs were constructed, enabling direct electrical measurement of the transport of ions and molecules. Ion current through these devices is about 2 orders of magnitude larger than that predicted from the bulk resistivity of the electrolyte. Electroosmosis drives excess current, carried by cations, and is found to be the origin of giant ionic current through SWCNT as shown by building an ionic field-effect transistor with a gate electrode embedded in the fluid barrier. Wetting of inside of the semi-conducting SWCNT by water showed the change …

Contributors
Pang, Pei, Lindsay, Stuart, Ros, Robert, et al.
Created Date
2011

Biological membranes are critical to cell sustainability by selectively permeating polar molecules into the intracellular space and providing protection to the interior organelles. Biomimetic membranes (model cell membranes) are often used to fundamentally study the lipid bilayer backbone structure of the biological membrane. Lipid bilayer membranes are often supported using inorganic materials in an effort to improve membrane stability and for application to novel biosensing platforms. Published literature has shown that a variety of dense inorganic materials with various surface properties have been investigated for the study of biomimetic membranes. However, literature does not adequately address the effect of porous …

Contributors
Eggen, Carrie Lynn, Lin, Jerry Y.S., Dai, Lenore, et al.
Created Date
2011

ATP synthase is a large multimeric protein complex responsible for generating the energy molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in most organisms. The catalysis involves the rotation of a ring of c-subunits, which is driven by the transmembrane electrochemical gradient. This dissertation reports how the eukaryotic c-subunit from spinach chloroplast ATP synthase has successfully been expressed in Escherichia coli and purified in mg quantities by incorporating a unique combination of methods. Expression was accomplished using a codon optimized gene for the c-subunit, and it was expressed as an attachment to the larger, more soluble, native maltose binding protein (MBP-c1). The fusion protein …

Contributors
Lawrence, Robert Michael, Fromme, Petra, Chen, Julian J.L., et al.
Created Date
2011

This thesis describes several approaches to next generation DNA sequencing via tunneling current method based on a Scanning Tunneling Microscope system. In chapters 5 and 6, preliminary results have shown that DNA bases could be identified by their characteristic tunneling signals. Measurements taken in aqueous buffered solution showed that single base resolution could be achieved with economic setups. In chapter 7, it is illustrated that some ongoing measurements are indicating the sequence readout by making linear scan on a piece of short DNA oligomer. However, to overcome the difficulties of controlling DNA especially ssDNA movement, it is much better to …

Contributors
Huang, Shuo, Lindsay, Stuart, Sankey, Otto, et al.
Created Date
2011

This dissertation features a compilation of studies concerning the biophysics of multicellular systems. I explore eukaryotic systems across length scales of the cell cytoskeleton to macroscopic scales of tissues. I begin with a general overview of the natural phenomena of life and a philosophy of investigating developmental systems in biology. The topics covered throughout this dissertation require a background in eukaryotic cell physiology, viscoelasticity, and processes of embryonic tissue morphogenesis. Following a brief background on these topics, I present an overview of the Subcellular Element Model (ScEM). This is a modeling framework which allows one to compute the dynamics of …

Contributors
Sandersius, Sebastian Ambrose, Newman, Timothy J, Rez, Peter, et al.
Created Date
2011

Proteins are a fundamental unit in biology. Although proteins have been extensively studied, there is still much to investigate. The mechanism by which proteins fold into their native state, how evolution shapes structural dynamics, and the dynamic mechanisms of many diseases are not well understood. In this thesis, protein folding is explored using a multi-scale modeling method including (i) geometric constraint based simulations that efficiently search for native like topologies and (ii) reservoir replica exchange molecular dynamics, which identify the low free energy structures and refines these structures toward the native conformation. A test set of eight proteins and three …

Contributors
Glembo, Tyler, Ozkan, Sefika B, Thorpe, Michael F, et al.
Created Date
2011

The properties of materials depend heavily on the spatial distribution and connectivity of their constituent parts. This applies equally to materials such as diamond and glasses as it does to biomolecules that are the product of billions of years of evolution. In science, insight is often gained through simple models with characteristics that are the result of the few features that have purposely been retained. Common to all research within in this thesis is the use of network-based models to describe the properties of materials. This work begins with the description of a technique for decoupling boundary effects from intrinsic …

Contributors
De Graff, Adam M R, Thorpe, Michael F., Ghirlanda, Giovanna, et al.
Created Date
2011

This dissertation describes the work on two projects which involves measuring molecular conductance and studying their properties on the nanoscale using various Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM) techniques. The first molecule studied was a porphyrin-fullerene moiety known as a molecular Dyad for photovoltaic applications. This project is further divided into two section, the first one involving the characterization of the Dyad monolayers and conductance measurement in the dark. The Dyads are designed to form charge separated states on illumination. The lifetime of the charged states have been measured efficiently but the single-molecule conductance through the molecules have yet to be characterized. …

Contributors
Bhattacharyya, Shreya, Lindsay, Stuart, Moore, Ana, et al.
Created Date
2011

Conformational changes in biomolecules often take place on longer timescales than are easily accessible with unbiased molecular dynamics simulations, necessitating the use of enhanced sampling techniques, such as adaptive umbrella sampling. In this technique, the conformational free energy is calculated in terms of a designated set of reaction coordinates. At the same time, estimates of this free energy are subtracted from the potential energy in order to remove free energy barriers and cause conformational changes to take place more rapidly. This dissertation presents applications of adaptive umbrella sampling to a variety of biomolecular systems. The first study investigated the effects …

Contributors
Spiriti, Justin Matthew, Van Der Vaart, Arjan, Chizmeshya, Andrew, et al.
Created Date
2011

Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations provide a particularly useful approach to understanding conformational change in biomolecular systems. MD simulations provide an atomistic, physics-based description of the motions accessible to biomolecular systems on the pico- to micro-second timescale, yielding important insight into the free energy of the system, the dynamical stability of contacts and the role of correlated motions in directing the motions of the system. In this thesis, I use molecular dynamics simulations to provide molecular mechanisms that rationalize structural, thermodynamic, and mutation data on the interactions between the lac repressor headpiece and its O1 operator DNA as well as the …

Contributors
Barr, Daniel, Van Der Vaart, Arjan, Matyushov, Dmitry, et al.
Created Date
2011

Membrane proteins are very important for all living cells, being involved in respiration, photosynthesis, cellular uptake and signal transduction, amongst other vital functions. However, less than 300 unique membrane protein structures have been determined to date, often due to difficulties associated with the growth of sufficiently large and well-ordered crystals. This work has been focused on showing the first proof of concept for using membrane protein nanocrystals and microcrystals for high-resolution structure determination. Upon determining that crystals of the membrane protein Photosystem I, which is the largest and most complex membrane protein crystallized to date, exist with only a hundred …

Contributors
Hunter, Mark S., Fromme, Petra, Wolf, George, et al.
Created Date
2011

The F1Fo ATP synthase is required for energy conversion in almost all living organisms. The F1 complex is a molecular motor that uses ATP hydrolysis to drive rotation of the γ–subunit. It has not been previously possible to resolve the speed and position of the γ–subunit of the F1–ATPase as it rotates during a power stroke. The single molecule experiments presented here measured light scattered from 45X91 nm gold nanorods attached to the γ–subunit that provide an unprecedented 5 μs resolution of rotational position as a function of time. The product of velocity and drag, which were both measured directly, …

Contributors
Martin Ii, James Leo, Frasch, Wayne D, Chandler, Douglas, et al.
Created Date
2012

Sensitivity is a fundamental challenge for in vivo molecular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Here, I improve the sensitivity of metal nanoparticle contrast agents by strategically incorporating pure and doped metal oxides in the nanoparticle core, forming a soluble, monodisperse, contrast agent with adjustable T2 or T1 relaxivity (r2 or r1). I first developed a simplified technique to incorporate iron oxides in apoferritin to form "magnetoferritin" for nM-level detection with T2- and T2* weighting. I then explored whether the crystal could be chemically modified to form a particle with high r1. I first adsorbed Mn2+ ions to metal binding sites in …

Contributors
Clavijo Jordan, Maria Veronica, Bennett, Kevin M, Kodibagkar, Vikram, et al.
Created Date
2012

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), a biopolymer well known for its role in preserving genetic information in biology, is now drawing great deal of interest from material scientists. Ease of synthesis, predictable molecular recognition via Watson-Crick base pairing, vast numbers of available chemical modifications, and intrinsic nanoscale size makes DNA a suitable material for the construction of a plethora of nanostructures that can be used as scaffold to organize functional molecules with nanometer precision. This dissertation focuses on DNA-directed organization of metallic nanoparticles into well-defined, discrete structures and using them to study photonic interaction between fluorophore and metal particle. Presented here are …

Contributors
Pal, Suchetan, Liu, Yan, Yan, Hao, et al.
Created Date
2012

The heliobacterial reaction center (HbRC) is widely considered the simplest and most primitive photosynthetic reaction center (RC) still in existence. Despite the simplicity of the HbRC, many aspects of the electron transfer mechanism remain unknown or under debate. Improving our understanding of the structure and function of the HbRC is important in determining its role in the evolution of photosynthetic RCs. In this work, the function and properties of the iron-sulfur cluster FX and quinones of the HbRC were investigated, as these are the characteristic terminal electron acceptors used by Type-I and Type-II RCs, respectively. In Chapter 3, I develop …

Contributors
Cowgill, John, Redding, Kevin, Jones, Anne, et al.
Created Date
2012

CpG methylation is an essential requirement for the normal development of mammals, but aberrant changes in the methylation can lead to tumor progression and cancer. An in-depth understanding of this phenomenon can provide insights into the mechanism of gene repression. We present a study comparing methylated DNA and normal DNA wrt its persistence length and contour length. Although, previous experiments and studies show no difference between the physical properties of the two, the data collected and interpreted here gives a different picture to the methylation phenomena and its effect on gene silencing. The study was extended to the artificially reconstituted …

Contributors
Kaur, Parminder, Lindsay, Stuart, Ros, Robert, et al.
Created Date
2012