A collaborative research project was initiated by Dr. Mark P. Heitz, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, to work with Dr. Babak Minofar of the Laboratory of Structural Biology and Bioinformatics, Institute of Microbiology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, on a project to study the interactions between long-chain ionic liquids and a synthetic double-stranded DNA oligomer. The resulting research was published in December 2021, in an article titled “Interactions between a dsDNA Oligonucleotide and Imidazolium Chloride Ionic Liquids: Effect of Alkyl Chain Length, Part I”.
This article reported on combined set of experimental + simulation results that examined the intercalation of a 16-carbon chain imidazolium ionic liquid with a self-complimentary 14 base pair synthetic DNA oligomer. The experimental work contributed from the Heitz lab was performed by a visiting summer research student, Michelle Seifert, who came to Brockport from the Technical University, Darmstadt, Germany. Michelle spent 9 weeks performing the fluorescence experiments and associated data analysis that was used in the paper. Prof. Heitz invited Babak Minofar to participate in the collaboration by performing molecular dynamics simulations that were designed to explore the structural associations between the ionic liquid and DNA oligomer. The work published was Part 1 of a two part effort, and Part 2 will focus on varying the carbon chain length to 10 and 4 carbons to understand the role of molecular hydrophobicity on ionic liquid binding to DNA. The extended work will be submitted for publication in the very near future. The team hopes that the published results will contribute to an increased understanding of the importance of structural motifs in drug-DNA binding mechanisms and will help in designing better drug delivery systems.