Marina Guenza

Professor of Theoretical Physical Chemistry

University of Oregon


Oregon BEST Member Researcher

The Guenza group studies the structure and dynamics of complex fluids. The goal is the development of novel theoretical (statistical mechanics) approaches to describing the structure and dynamics of complex (macromolecular) systems, while including the underlying molecular details. The studies combine simulations and analytical theory in an effort to overcome some long-standing problems in this exciting field of research.

Recent technological innovations in biology, materials science, and information science are bringing about both the need and the potential to organize, understand, and formalize the huge amounts of available information in terms of well-defined theoretical approaches. Our contribution in this area is the development of theoretical frameworks that elucidate physical and biological processes in complex systems on the basis of their underlying molecular structure. Such theoretical tools will allow one to predict the properties of a system from its known chemical structure and physical parameters (e.g., temperature, density), and will provide useful information for the tailored synthesis of new synthetic and/or biological materials characterized by desirable macroscopic properties.

The ultimate goal of our work is to derive a “unified” theoretical framework to provide a common theoretical “language” to describe the structure and dynamics of complex macromolecular systems across the fields of biophysics, materials science, and complex fluids. With this goal in mind, we recently derived a Generalized Langevin Equation for the cooperative dynamics of interacting macromolecules in a liquid. This equation describes how the motion of macromolecular systems is modified by the interplay between intra- and inter-molecular forces. When time-dependent intermolecular forces are comparable to intramolecular contributions, unique dynamic processes take place, which are characterized by cooperative motions involving many molecules. Cooperative dynamics pertain to a series of quite different systems of bio-physical and material interest, including the self-assembly of macromolecular systems, nanoparticles, undercooled polymer fluids, polymer liquids and mixtures at room temperature, interacting biological systems such as protein-protein and protein-DNA aggregates, droplets forming at interfaces, and more.

Areas of Interest

  • Advanced Materials
  • Solar
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