Many Arctic and Antarctic species, including fish, insects, and plants, survive extreme cold by
producing antifreeze proteins (AFPs) that depress the freezing point of their bodily fluids in a non-colligative manner without altering its melting point. The ‘adsorption-inhibition mechanism’ has now been widely accepted to explain how AFPs achieve thermal hysteresis and inhibit ice recrystallisation, but why and exactly how AFPs bind ice is not yet known. This CIG project entitled ‘PRice’ entails an experimental study on antifreeze proteins in solution and at interfaces to identify and better understand key mechanisms by which AFPs function. The fundamental insights that we hope for are also of applied interest as the natural cryoprotective ability of AFPs can be very useful in the preservation of organs and food products upon freeze storage for example.
The community contribution to PRice supports the integration of an excellent female researcher (MSc and PhD degrees were awarded with highest distinction) at an outstanding university in Europe. On March 1st 2011, she moved from the Adolphe Merkle Institute of the University of Fribourg in Switzerland to Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in the Netherlands to take up a position as an Assistant Professor (6-year tenure track) within the Macromolecular and Organic Chemistry Group (MOC) of Prof. E. W. (Bert) Meijer and the Institute for Complex Molecular systems. She has an ideal background for this highly interdisciplinary project that will create new synergies between European research institutes and universities through collaborations between experimentalists of various nationalities and scientific backgrounds. The project will significantly advance her future career prospects as it opens up new possibilities to extend previous research activities and supports the establishment of her own subgroup within MOC at TU/e.
Fields of science
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