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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

February 28, 2014

Speaker: Hendrick de Haan, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Science, Ontario Tech University

Title: Computational nanobiophysics: Exploring the intersection of biophysics and nanotechnology via simulations

Abstract: With the current state of nanofabrication, it is now possible to design and build nanoscale devices and particles. Since the smallest scale for biological molecules is typically on the order of nanometers, such devices allow for the isolation, study, manipulation and even alteration of single biopolymers such as DNA and proteins. Similarly, nanoparticles can be engineered and synthesized to interact with specific molecules, cells, and tissue. This technology opens the door to an enormous range of new medical, biotechnology and nanotechnology applications. In this talk, Dr. de Haan will give an overview of some of his projects in this research area, including:

  • DNA in a nanopit system
  • magnetic nanoparticles as contrast agents in MRI
  • twitcher cells moving across surfaces
  • DNA translocation through a nanopore

For each system, he will outline how the system is modelled, as well as the simulation approach employed to reproduce the dynamics. At the end of the talk, he will focus on DNA translocation through a nanopore by presenting results concerning translocation in a crowded environment. He will show that for DNA starting halfway through a nanopore, a bias favouring translocation to one side is obtained not only when there is a gradient in the obstacle concentration across the membrane, but also when the concentration is the same but the arrangement of the obstacles differs. These results imply that for translocation in a heterogeneous environment, a purely entropic driving force can arise in the system.