George R. Pack

Professor, Physical Chemistry


Our group is interested in theoretical and computational biophysical chemistry. We have been developing and applying computational methods to the study of the properties of DNA. Electrostatic forces are particularly important in determining nucleic acid structure and function and the application of the Poisson-Boltzmann equation and Monte Carlo techniques have allowed us to describe the distribution of monovalent and divalent electrolyte ions around these polyelectrolytes. Recently, we have examined the mechanism by which DNA enhances the acid catalysis of small molecules and described the proton equilibria in the grooves of DNA. Along with these applications, we have been developing better theoretical descriptions of the dielectric properties of the DNA-electrolyte systems in order to increase the accuracy of computational approaches. Current efforts are directed toward understanding metal-catalyzed splicing of DNA strands.