Gina Shreve

Faculty Profile

Associate Professor




Chemical Engineering and Material ScienceĀ 

Thru Year




Research Description

Biosurfactant specificity and influence on microbial transformation of insoluble hydrocarbons.
Factors influencing microbial degradation kinetics of chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons in natural anaerobic systems.
Transport and reaction of solutes in ultrafiltration membrane bioreactors for environmental and biosynthetic applications.
Multiphase reactors for biosynthesis of pharmaceuticals.

In order to better understand various conditions caused by specific point mutations in proteins, it is often desirable to be able to predict the effect of the point mutation on the protein secondary structure and tertiary structure.  This research involves molecular dynamic (MD) computer simulations of various amino acid substituted forms of human serine protease FIX.  Further analysis of these minimized structures are performed including analysis of the solvent accessible (SSA) surface area and the number of hydrogen bonds to assess the stability of the mutant and native forms.  Comparison of these parameters for the native and mutant forms of FIX are correlated with clinical data on reduced activity and examined as the basis for this reduced activity.  This approach has general importance for examining the effect of single nucleotide substitutions (SNP) on protein structure/function and activity.Sekelsky, A., Shreve, G.S.: Kinetic Model of Biosurfactant Enhanced Hexadecane Biodegradation by Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 63(4):401-409,1999.
While micellar solubilization of hydrocarbon has obvious practial applications such as cleaning, drug and cosmetic formulation, drug delivery, several natural systems employ plan or microbial surfactants for nutrient transport.  MD simulations have been used in my group to provide a more detailed microscopic understanding of surfactant and biosurfactant micelle properties.  Laboratory measurements of aggregation numbers obtained using pyrene fluorescence quenching then MD simulations were performed on specific systems including surfactant, hydrocarbon solute, and counterion in an aqueous system.  The target hydrocarbons are chosen as dodecane and benzene since the structure DBS is just a combination of dodecane, one aromatic ring and asulfonate hydrophilic head group.  From the experimental result, several micelle parameters describing the physical micelle size can be obtained.  The interfacial properties of the specific hydrocarbon/water have been determined separately.  Such combined experimental and simulation results can be used to explain solubilization behavior in simple hydrocarbon:detergent systems.

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