Professor Colina obtained her Ph.D. at the North Carolina State University (2004) and her B.S. (1993) and M.Sc. (1994) at Simón Bolívar University. She was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was previously a faculty member at Simón Bolívar University and joined the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University as Associate Professor in January 2007. She won the 1999 Award for Outstanding Teaching Achievement (at the Assistant Professor level) at Simón Bolívar University, as well as several other awards from the Venezuelan’s National Committees from the Development of Higher Education and for the Academic Advancement.
Dr. Colina has several international collaborations and has presented the results of her research globally in more than 200 national and international conferences. She has published over 90 papers (including conference proceedings), recently edited a book and serve in several national and international commitees.
Dylan Anstine is from southern Kansas City, Missouri. He completed his undergraduate studies in nanoscience with an emphasis in physics at Northwest Missouri State University in May 2016 under the supervision of Dr. Himadri Chakraborty. His undergraduate research was focused on computational simulations of carbon fullerenes, photoionization, and endohedrally confined gases. The work involved using perturbation theory to investigate the field of ultra-fast optics and correlative electron behavior.
Dylan arrived in the Colina group July 2016 where he began studying the mechanical properties of amorphous polymers using all-atomistic models and non-equilibrium molecular dynamics. His current research interest is in examining hydrogel networks and developing algorithmic approaches to generate controlled in silico hydrogel topologies. Traditionally it is difficult to analyze and characterize hydrogel structure; creating a classical problem of defining structure-property relationships. Defining the effects that hydrogel network structure has on gel mechanical properties will have a significant impact on the fields of soft mechanics and modeling, cell culture, and tissue engineering.
Alex received his master’s degree at Saint-Petersburg State University (Russia) in computational and applied physics. His undergraduate research project was on the topic of the self-adapting algorithm based on the super-convergence of the solution applied for the finite elements method solver of elliptic partial derivative equations.
After graduating from the university, Alex worked in the German Federal Institute of Materials Research and Testing (BAM). Continuing in the field of his undergraduate studies, he worked with mathematical simulation of the physical processes in laser-induced micro-sparks. More specifically, the topic of the research project was the calibration-free spectral analysis of the spectra from laser-induced micro-spark plasmas.
At the beginning of 2017 he joined Dr. Coray Colina’s group with research aimed towards the molecular dynamic simulations of amorphous polymeric systems, focusing on the development of automated tools for molecular dynamic simulations.
Senthil is a graduate student from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Florida. He is from Pondicherry, India. He did his undergrad from the Madras Institute of Technology, Chennai, India with a B.Tech degree in Rubber and Plastics Technology in July 2017. His undergraduate research was focused on synthesis and ion conductivity calculation of semi-interpenetrating polymer blends of polyvinyl alcohol and poly(styrene sulfonate) (PVA/PSS) for fuel cell applications. He also studied the rheology of poly (N, N’ diethyl acrylamide) (PNIPAM) and the tunability of its lower critical solution temperature.
He joined the Colina group in November 2017. His current research focuses on the molecular simulations on poly(trimethylsilyl) propyne (PTMSP). The stiff backbone and the bulky side groups of the polymer creates micropores and thus makes it highly permeable to gases and organic liquids. The goal of the project is to evaluate the adsorption isotherm, the pore size distribution and the swelling behavior of the polymer. He is also working on the adsorption of binary gas mixtures in polymers of intrinsic microporosity (PIM). Predictive molecular dynamics simulations on an atomistic scale will aid the experimental design of the porous polymers for gas adsorption.
Aravinda Munasinghe is from Colombo, Sri Lanka. He graduated from University of Colombo with B.Sc. in Computational Chemistry in January 2014. As an undergraduate student, under the supervision of Prof. Nalin de Silva and Dr. Rohini de Silva, he studied electronic and dynamic properties of graphene sheets when intercalated with small particles.
At the beginning of fall 2015 he joined Dr. Coray Colina’s group with research aimed at studying dynamic properties of Osteoprotegerin (OPG) with RANKL. Understanding how OPG interact with RANKL at the atomistic scale is important due to active contribution of the RANKL/OPG/RANK pathway in many bone diseases including different forms of common osteoporosis.
Following the completion of this research project, currently his research interests are focused on studying effects of polymers on proteins upon bioconjugation.
Lakshitha Perera is from Colombo, Sri Lanka. He graduated from University of Colombo with a B.Sc. in Computational Chemistry with a First Class Honors (2016), and served as a Temporary Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry, University of Colombo during 2016-2017. As an undergraduate student, Lakshitha carried out a Molecular Dynamics Simulation studies to identify the effect of the water-ethanol binary mixture composition on the Structure and Dynamics of Hen Egg White Lysozyme.
At the beginning of Fall 2017, he joined Prof. Colina’s Group with research focused on studying the effect of site specific mutations on the structure of Human Interferon Alpha 2A Protein. Interferon Alpha 2A is an important protein used in drugs to treat patients with chronic version of Hepatitis B & C, and cancers. However due to its multi-functional nature, this as a drug, also causes multiple side effects in patients being treated. Therefore, this study was focused on assisting to identify the suitability of a triple mutant of Interferon Alpha 2A to be used as a modified version of the drug candidate to treat diseases, while reducing the side effects.
Shalini is from Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. She graduated from the National Institute of Technology, Trichy, India with a B.Tech degree in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering in August 2014. Her undergraduate research was focused on synthesis and characterization of MAX phase compound Ti3SiC2 and Al-Si alloy foams for aerospace and automotive applications. She also studied phase separation and grain growth in alloys using Monte Carlo simulations.
She joined the Colina group in fall 2014. She focused her study on Ionomers of Intrinsic Microporosity (IonomIMs) which consist of Polymers of Intrinsic Microporosity (PIMs) with ionic functional groups (such as carboxylate, sulfate) covalently attached to the polymer backbone, and extra framework counter ions (Li+, Na+, K+, Rb+ and Mg2+). The effect of different counter-ions on the porosity, carbon dioxide (CO2) adsorption and mixed gas selectivity was studied using Molecular Dynamics and Monte Carlo simulations. The goal of the project was to enhance CO2 gas separation performance under industrially relevant conditions.
Her current research focuses on enzyme responsive polyethylene glycol diacrylate (PEGDA)-peptide hydrogels for drug delivery applications. The goal of the project is to evaluate the mesh size, swelling ratio and solvent accessible surface area (SASA) as a function of molecular weight of PEGDA monomers, cross-link densities and peptide sequence. Predictive molecular dynamics simulations on an atomistic scale will aid the experimental design of these hydrogels for controlled drug release.
Allison Barkdull is from Orlando, Florida and is now in her freshman year pursuing a degree in Biochemistry. She joined the Colina Group in Winter of 2019 and is currently undertaking training in molecular modeling and simulation software to perform molecular dynamics simulations of biomolecules.
Akash Mathavan grew up in Davie in South Florida. He is currently an undergraduate sophomore student at the University of Florida, where he is pursuing a B. S. in Biomedical Engineering with minors in Mathematics and Computer Science.
Akash joined the Colina group in the Winter of 2016. Currently, he is working on atomistic simulations of Immunoglobulin G and the role of disulfide bonds in protein stability. IgG is a glycoprotein and the most common type of antibody found in the human body. It serves as the basis of monoclonal antibody therapy.
Akshay Mathavan, a second-year student at the University of Florida, grew up in Davie, Florida. He is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering with minors in Computer Science and Mathematics.
In winter of 2016, Akshay starting working with Dr. Colina’s research group. Currently, he is performing atomistic simulations on Bovine Serum Albumin in order to analyze protein structures after cleaving disulfide bonds. Bovine Serum Albumin, commonly known as BSA, is often used in biomedical practices for concentration standards.
Nicholas Mendez grew up in Largo, Florida before going to the University of Florida. He is currently a third-year junior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering.
Nicholas Joined Dr. Colina’s research group at the beginning of summer 2018. He has currently been working on the adsorption of gases in a polymer of intrinsic microporosity (PIM-1), which could prove useful for gas separation.
Wesley Morgan is from St. Petersburg, Florida. He is currently a third-year undergraduate at the University of Florida, pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Packaging Sciences.
Wesley began working with the Colina group in May 2018. Currently, he is working on the adsorption of low molecular weight gas molecules using polymers of intrinsic microporosity (PIMs) using Grand Canonical Monte Carlo simulations.
Caleb Streitmatter is from Sarasota, Florida. He is currently a second-year undergraduate at the University of Florida, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Microbiology and Cell Science.
Caleb joined Dr. Colina’s research group in the spring of 2019. Currently, he is undergoing training in applying the various computational techniques and tools utilized by the Colina research group to investigate biological systems through molecular dynamics simulation.