Biomedical Engineering ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-12-2019


Small, biologically active molecules with unique properties and applications are potential solutions to a wide range of threats to global health including infectious agents and neurodegenerative disease. Experimental studies on a class of oligomeric p-phenylene ethynylenes (OPEs) have shown potential both as bioactive antimicrobials and fluorescent sensing agents for tracking amyloid-β (Aβ) aggregates found in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). A second type of small molecule with potential applications in AD therapy, curcumin, has been found to interfere with Aβ fibril growth. Curcumin also attenuates Aβ-membrane interactions and Aβ toxicity. Our goal has been to use computational techniques to better understand the interactions governing small molecule behavior when bound to capsid or fibrillar protein scaffolds. We focused on mechanistic details involved with the binding of these compounds. We have also used other modeling techniques to design adaptive devices to provide aid for those with limited mobility caused by AD and other diseases.




Alzheimer's disease, molecular dynamics, Curcumin, oligo p-phenylene ethynylene, biosensor, amyloid beta

Document Type


Degree Name

Biomedical Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Biomedical Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Deborah G. Evans

Second Committee Member

Eva Y. Chi

Third Committee Member

David G. Whitten

Fourth Committee Member

Sally C. Pias

Fifth Committee Member

Susan R. Atlas


6th Committee Member - Heather E. Canavan