Lim Wins Best Poster AwardDepartment of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering junior Joseph Lim won the Best Poster Award in the Biochemistry/Biophysics Division at the 2008 Bioscience Research & Technology and Review Day. Lim presented some of the research he conducted in the Laboratory of Molecular & Thermodynamic Modeling, directed by his advisor, ChBE assistant professor Jeffery Klauda.
Lim's poster, titled "The Application of Molecular Dynamics Simulations to Sterols and Lipid Bilayers," presented a study on how sterols, found in the fatty tissues of plants and animals —cholesterol is a well-known example—are distributed in cellular membranes of polyunsaturated lipids or fatty acids (PUFA).
It is generally believed cholesterol exists in—or pierces through—the outer leaflet (plasma cellular membrane) of both saturated lipids and PUFA in human and animal fatty tissue. Recent experiments, however, have shown that it may actually exist between the inner and outer leaflets of PUFA cells.
Lim used atomic-level simulations of cholesterol naturally manufactured in the body (vs. though dietary intake, which can be controlled with eating habits) in lipid membranes to determine whether this is the case. Understanding how cholesterol interacts with different lipid membranes is important, because if scientists have a clearer idea of how cholesterol gets into and builds up in places it shouldn't, it would be easier to design drugs capable of inhibiting it.
"In future research, [Lim] will also be examining how certain 'carrier' proteins pick up the cholesterol molecules and deliver them, which will have more of an influence on future drug design," said Klauda. "This is just the beginning of understanding the overall picture of cholesterol transport within the cell."
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Published November 15, 2008