AiS Challenge Team Abstract

Team Number: 043

School Name: Los Alamos High School

Area of Science: Microbiology

Project Title: Microtubule Self-Assembly in a Parallel Simulation Environment



Microtubules are hollow cylindrical structures which self-assemble given the right conditions. These straw-like structures crystallize into tightly-packed circular lipid bi-layers. With an average thickness of 1 um, these microtubules are critical in cell architecture and transport, and can be potentially used for distributing substances at long-period intervals. This controlled release is ideal for long-term drug delivery (over a period of years, for instance).

Microtubules can be coated with a variety of metals, thus enhancing their electromagnetic properties. Their dielectric properties are ideal for various purposes, such as absorption filters. Also, metallic microtubules can be used for micro electronics, mainly to act as a ‘nanowire’ to connect microelectrodes.

Our program will create an ideal environment which allows the self-assembly and metallization of metal-clad microtubules. Our program will then simulate, at the molecular level, the crystallization of this structure. An ideal environment might lead to an effective cost/performance ratio which will lead to the marketing of this process.

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