Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Nesterova, Irina V.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry


Thermodynamic characterization is crucial for understanding molecular interactions. However, methodologies for measuring heat changes in small open systems are extremely limited. We document a new approach for designing molecular sensors that function as calorimeters: sensors based on memory. To design a memory-based sensor, we take advantage of the unique kinetic properties of nucleic acid scaffolds. Particularly, we elaborate on the differences in folding and unfolding rates in nucleic acid quadruplexes. DNA-based i-motifs unfold fast in response to small heats but do not fold back when the system is equilibrated with surroundings. We translated this behaviour into a molecular memory function that enables the measurement of heat changes in open environments. The new sensors are biocompatible, operate homogeneously, and measure small heats released over long time periods. As a proof-of-concept, we demonstrate how the molecular calorimeters report heat changes generated in water/propanol mixing and in ligand/protein binding.


123 pages




Northern Illinois University

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In Copyright

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NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

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Included in

Chemistry Commons