Hai Lin, assistant professor of chemistry at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Colorado Denver, recently received the National Science Foundation's Faculty Early Career Development award, the first for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the second for the UC Denver campus.
The $625, 000 award for the Theory, Models and Computational Methods program supports his research of protein dynamics.
"We are extremely proud that Hai Lin has received a prestigious NSF CAREER research award," said Jim Hageman, associate vice chancellor for research at UC Denver. "His leading-edge contribution in computations of complex molecular structures is being recognized; this award will allow him to advance his work in significant ways and to incorporate new elements of this into his teaching."
Proteins that form channels and pumps for small molecules and ions across cell membranes are critical for all of life. Failure of such proteins to work properly can cause hereditary diseases such as cystic fibrosis, myotonia (muscle stiffness), renal salt loss, deafness, urinary protein loss, kidney stones, osteoporosis and blindness. Understanding the details of the functioning of such proteins and their molecular dynamics is critical to understanding the mechanisms of movements of ions, such as chloride and protons, across membranes.
"Progress made in the research will be integrated directly into the curriculum of my Molecular Modeling and Simulation course," Lin said. "And undergraduate and MS students will participate in the research by doing small subprojects. The research program will be integrated into the LAB COATS (Link to Advanced Biomedical Research Career Opportunities and Training Section) program at UC Denver, the goal of which is to retain undergraduates from underrepresented groups in science and assist them with entry into graduate school and the pursuit of careers in research."