NSF Graduate Fellow Joins Straub Group

in Front Page, Graduate
April 24th, 2015

Former Chemistry REU student George Pantelopulos returns as Graduate Student

Former Chemistry REU student, George Pantelopulos, returns as Graduate Student

2015 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) award recipient, George Pantelopulos, has joined Chemistry to do his proposed graduate research in theoretical chemistry with Prof. John Straub and his group.   George aims  to model the kinetics of phase transitions in a system of components (lipids and cholesterol) commonly found in eukaryotic cell membranes using the Generalized ReplicaExchange Method (gREM) developed by the Straub group and constructing a Markov State Model (MSM) of a mixed bilayer.  George believes that his study will yield a statistically detailed model of the thermodynamics and kinetics of mixed bilayer phases, something which has been sought for years via experimental techniques and previously out-of-reach for standard simulation methods.

George is no stranger to BU Chemistry.  In 2013 he was one of the 10 students selected for Chemistry’s NSF site Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program.  At the time, he was at the Community College of Philadelphia.   During his summer REU program here, he  helped to synthesize nanohoops of high electron density, which were hypothesized to serve as high performance coatings for solar cells. In Fall 2013 he transferred to Temple University (Philadelphia, PA), where he did research with Prof. Vincent Voelz on simulation studies of the p53-MDM2 complex.  MDM2 is an ubiquitin ligase protein which downregulates the tumor suppressor protein p53.  As such, inhibition of the p53-MDM2 complex is a major goal in targeted cancer therapy research.

In addition to chemistry, George’s interests are broad and varied.   He has a strong commitment to community service and have volunteered with such organizations as TeenSHARP, a weekend educational program for minority students in Philadelphia and Camden schools, where he was a science instructor and Habitat for Humanity.