Through her grant, "CAREER: Coupling nanoscale device modeling with course-grained biomolecular simulations," Gracheva will receive
"This award is a huge mark of approval from the scientific community," she said. "I am honored and excited to receive it."
Gracheva's research focuses on the computer simulation of nanoscale electrically tunable solid state devices for biomolecular sensing, detection and manipulation. In recent years, the ability of the gate-operated nanopore in a solid-state membrane to exert influence on a biological molecule traversing the nanopore has become increasingly appreciated in the view of a truly breakthrough potential in cheap and ultra-fast DNA sequencing with applications in research, national security and personal medicine.
Gracheva will use her award to investigate novel membrane device compositions which enable unique control over a single biomolecule in the vicinity of the device, all done through the use of computers. Theoretical understanding of the electric phenomena in nanoconfinements of semiconductor membrane devices, such as the influence on ionic transport and biomolecule dynamics could impact broad applications in bio-nanotechnology and bioengineering, and will contribute to understanding analogous processes in biomimetic systems. Ultimately, this program serves as a foundation for educational and research projects related to bio-nanotechnology, bio-molecule sensing, manipulation and characterization, including DNA sequencing.
"At times things behave differently in confined spaces," she said. "We build computer models of physical phenomena at the nanoscale to see how we can use these new and unusual interactions and properties to analyze biomolecules such as DNA and proteins."
Gracheva has taught solid state physics, biophysics, computer modeling in physics and physics for life sciences among other courses at Clarkson, incorporating whenever possible the modern problems and questions into the educational curriculum. Many undergraduate students have been involved in her research group since 2008. She plans to use her CAREER award to continue to bridge together teaching and research.
Prior to this award, Gracheva has received NSF support in forms of an EAGER award (Early-Concept Grants for
"Nanotechnology has a bad rep in public, when it simply means technology at the nanometer scale, one billionth of a meter. Hopefully, with continuous education of the next generation of professionals this will change," she said. "A part of this award will be used to develop learning and teaching materials for science teachers to use in classrooms to popularize nanotechnology and it's applications for what they are: the really cool uses of nature's properties to make our lives better."
Gracheva has been a faculty member in the
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