Professor of Chemistry
After over a decade and half in theoretical physical chemistry and chemical physics, much of Udayan Mohanty’s research focus since 1994 has been on problems that bridge the gap between chemistry and biophysics. Early worked explored polyelectrolyte behavior of highly charged biopolymers, including A-tracts, in aqueous solution. He has played a leading role in developing, in collaboration with experimental groups (Steven Chu (Stanford) and David Bartel (MIT)), the effects of ion atmosphere on the dynamics of nucleic acid fragments in free solution and in gels. Mohanty has established theoretical frameworks with Clifford Taubes (Harvard) and computational methods with Jose Onuchic (Rice) of analysis to excess ion atmosphere around DNAs and RNAs, including riboswitches and rRNAs. Much of Mohanty’s current research has centered on developing techniques to unravel how diffuse ions regulate conformational dynamics of group-II introns and ribonuclear protein assemblies (Paul Whitford, Northeastern). Another recent aspect of Mohanty research has been in materials. In close coupling between theory and experiments (Dunwei Wang and Frank Tsung), Mohanty’s efforts have been in controlling ionic behaviors in metal-organic-frameworks (MOF) for Mg2+ transport.