2006 Participants
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Kristen Grinstead

"Our research consisted of observing the interactions of the protein cytochrome c with the interior environment of the reverse micelle. Reverse micelles are nanometer sized structures composed of a water droplet surrounded by surfactant molecules suspended in a nonpolar phase that, on the inside where the surfactant is in contact with the water, are similar to the inner surface of the cell membrane. We made reverse micelles containing cytochrome c, a protein usually found along cell membranes in the human body, to study how the cytochrome c was affected by its interactions with the surfactant layer and accompanying water. We studied the protein in the reverse micelle and in bulk water solutions under normal conditions, as well as at different temperatures and pH values, and in reverse micelles of different sizes using absorption and emission spectroscopies. We concluded that the protein behaves differently in reverse micelles than in bulk water, as shown by the destabilization of the protein structure when within the reverse micelles."

View Kristen's Paper