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Quantum Biology

Understanding the Hidden Nature of Nature

Quantum Biology (QB) is an interdisciplinary field in the intersection of quantum mechanics, theoretical chemistry, and biology. The aim of QB is to comprehend the quantum mechanical nature of biological processes involving the conversion of energy into forms that are utilizable for chemical transformations. The overarching goal of this joint project with scientists from Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab seeks to apply theory-driven predictions of QB for multi-scale integration of cellular function. The interdisciplinary team proposes to use front-edge computational and modeling techniques in synergy with advanced magnetic resonance techniques to probe quantum coherent pathways in the biochemical activity of electron transfer flavoprotein (ETF) that controls the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). This work aims to connect broad Spatio-temporal scales, from rapid dynamics at the molecular level to graduate ROS production. Connecting persistent quantum effects to cellular behaviors bridges the atomic and cellular levels. To understand the fundamental mechanism of quantum coherence in ROS production in the ETF system, a comprehensive approach is undertaken that integrates the following three goals: 

  • application of theory-driven predictions of QB for multi-scale integration of sub-cellular function,  

  • development of the mathematical foundation of QB through optimal control of quantum systems with distributed parameters, 

  • development of the user-friendly software packages implementing numerical algorithms based on PDE constrained optimization methods in QB problems. 

The mathematical aim of the proposal is the development of the mathematical foundation of quantum optimal control with application in QB; optimality conditions implementing tools of infinite-dimensional calculus and regularization theory; numerical algorithms based on projective gradient methods in Hilbert-Sobolev spaces; development of the novel mathematical formalism to optimize coherent spin dynamics of radical pairs;

The project is funded by National Science Foundation (NSF): NSF EAGER: Requisite lifetimes for coherent transition pathways in electron transfer flavoprotein: a quantum biology approach; Award # 2051510; 2020-2021; 

Quantum Biology: Service
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