When New Mexico State University faculty member Marat Talipov, Ph.D., was searching for a summer opportunity to expand his collaborative network, a colleague steered him toward Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). As a part of the HBCU/MEI program, Talipov spent the summer contributing to research at the lab’s Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences.
ORNL sponsors summer research appointments for faculty of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority Educational Institutions in an effort to foster long-term collaboration. Alongside ORNL’s Stephan Irle, Ph.D., Talipov contributed to the validation of novel computational methods for application to biochemical systems.
“The purpose of this research project is to validate a recently developed approximate quantum chemical method and its implementation for the simulation of polymer and biomolecular systems dynamics,” Talipov said.
The data obtained for the new method will allow the community to perform molecular dynamics simulations of macromolecular systems under explicit consideration of electronic structure, important for the description of chemical reactions, electron transfer and polarization effects.
“As a chemist, I am fascinated by the opportunity to study large—up to millions of atoms—chemical systems using a consistent quantum mechanical approach,” Talipov said. “I believe that such a tool will greatly facilitate the guided design of novel materials and drugs for addressing the pressing challenges for our society.”
Much of his time was spent setting up and analyzing various computations and writing code. However, Talipov most enjoyed interacting with researchers and staff at the lab. His research interests aligned with the interests of his mentor. Being surrounded by knowledgeable colleagues enabled Talipov to overcome challenges faster than working as an individual at his home institution.
“I had a great experience here,” Talipov said. “I will likely apply again to this program or another program and will advise the students and members of my research groups at NMSU to apply for the programs at ORNL.”
The HBCU/MEI program is administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy.