University of Delaware
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
The essential conundrum of modern biology, namely the question of how life emerges from myriad molecules whose behavior is governed by physical law alone, is embodied within a single cell—the quantum of life. The rise of scientific supercomputing has allowed for the study of the living cell in unparalleled detail, from the scale of the atom to a whole organism and at all levels in between. In particular, the past three decades have witnessed the evolution of molecular dynamics (MD) simulations as a “computational microscope”, which has provided a unique framework for the study of the phenomena of cell biology in atomic (or near-atomic) detail. Our work synergistically combines single-molecule biophysics, structural biology and computational biology techniques to probe the molecular origin of biological phenomena. Here I present an overview of our synergistic efforts with experimentalists to determine the molecular details during the life-cycle of HIV-1. Our work reveals complex relationships between capsid permeability, mechano-elasticity and reverse-transcription, and deciphers the role of cellular host-factors during the life-cycle of the virus.
Dr. Perilla is a biophysicist and currently an Assistant Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry at the University of Delaware. He obtained his Ph.D. in 2011 at the Johns Hopkins University, developing transition state theory applied to large conformational changes in proteins. He then moved to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he studied entire viruses under physiological conditions. Prof. Perilla develops physical and chemical based methodologies for the understanding of biological processes related to life and disease. In particular, his research spans from quantum-mechanical calculations to mesoscale simulations and leverages the computational power of petascale supercomputers. Prof. Perilla's group also developed full-scale molecular simulations of viral components which has driven the development of a robust statistical analysis framework. Prof. Perilla has authored over 50 peer-reviewed articles, 11 journal covers and three book chapters. Dr. Perilla enjoys sports like squash, golf, bike touring, as well as playing chess and the violin.