Polymer professor receives continued NSF funding for theory and simulation research


Dr. Mesfin Tsige, professor in the School of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering at The University of Akron, has been awarded $324,000 from the Chemistry Division of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support his research on modeling the self-assembly of very large molecules with multiple charges, called macroions, in solution. This is the second consecutive grant from NSF to support Dr. Tsige’s work on the self-assembly of macroions and the twelfth overall from NSF supporting his research and education activities.

Mesfin Tsige

Dr. Mesfin Tsige in the Polymer Modeling and Data Visualization Center located in the Goodyear Polymer Center.

Professor Tsige and his students, in collaboration with Professor Tianbo Liu’s group, study the self-assembly process using theory and large-scale computer models, which track the motion of hundreds of thousands to millions of atoms. Their model enables them to observe the initial stages of assembly formation and develop a fundamental understanding of how self-assembly is affected by macroion size and charge density, solvent polarity, as well as the presence of counter ions and co-ions. Their discoveries help interpret experimental observations and could also impact our understanding of the self-assembly of other important macroions, such as proteins and DNA.

“My group’s involvement on understanding the self-assembly of macroions in solution using theory and simulation has been motivated by the intriguing experimental results from Dr. Tianbo Liu’s group,” says Tsige.

The project is also helping to train the next generation of scientists by providing research opportunities for graduate students, high school students from the local St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, and undergraduate students participating in the NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates program at the School of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering.