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Marina G. Guenza

Professor — Theoretical Physical Chemistry

Member, Institute of Theoretical Science

Member, Materials Science Institute

Member, Institute of Molecular Biology

M.S., University of Genoa, Italy, 1985 (Angelo Perico). Ph.D., University of Genoa, Italy, 1989 (Carla Cuniberti). Researcher of the National Council of Research (Italian National Laboratory) in the Institute for the Study of Synthetic and Natural Macromolecules, December 1989–99; Visiting Scientist at University of Chicago, James Franck Institute, 1994 (Karl F. Freed); Visiting Scientist at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1995–97 (Kenneth S. Schweizer); Honors and Awards: Italian Ministry of Public Instruction fellow, 1985-87. Editorial Advisory Board of Macromolecules (2010-2013). Fellow of the American Physical Society. At Oregon since 1998.

Research Interests:

The Guenza group studies the structure and dynamics of complex fluids. The goal is the development of novel theoretical (statistical mechanics) approaches to describing the structure and dynamics of complex (macromolecular) systems, while including the underlying molecular details. The studies combine simulations and analytical theory in an effort to overcome some long-standing problems in this exciting field of research.

Recent technological innovations in biology, materials science, and information science are bringing about both the need and the potential to organize, understand, and formalize the huge amounts of available information in terms of well-defined theoretical approaches. Our contribution in this area is the development of theoretical frameworks that elucidate physical and biological processes in complex systems on the basis of their underlying molecular structure. Such theoretical tools will allow one to predict the properties of a system from its known chemical structure and physical parameters (e.g., temperature, density), and will provide useful information for the tailored synthesis of new synthetic and/or biological materials characterized by desirable macroscopic properties.

The ultimate goal of our work is to derive a “unified” theoretical framework to provide a common theoretical “language” to describe the structure and dynamics of complex macromolecular systems across the fields of biophysics, materials science, and complex fluids. With this goal in mind, we recently derived a Generalized Langevin Equation for the cooperative dynamics of interacting macromolecules in a liquid. This equation describes how the motion of macromolecular systems is modified by the interplay between intra- and inter-molecular forces. When time-dependent intermolecular forces are comparable to intramolecular contributions, unique dynamic processes take place, which are characterized by cooperative motions involving many molecules. Cooperative dynamics pertain to a series of quite different systems of bio-physical and material interest, including the self-assembly of macromolecular systems, nanoparticles, undercooled polymer fluids, polymer liquids and mixtures at room temperature, interacting biological systems such as protein-protein and protein-DNA aggregates, droplets forming at interfaces, and more.

Another area of active interest is to develop new theoretical tools to optimize the efficiency in simulations of complex fluids. Computer simulations are extremely useful research tools since they provide the necessary information to build the understanding of the microscopic physical processes underlying the macroscopic behavior of interest. Unfortunately, several practical barriers impair the ability of performing simulations of complex fluids because they involve coupled long- and short-range interactions, as well as a hierarchy of time- and length-scales at which relevant processes take place. For these systems, an atomistic simulation is often impossible to conduct because it would require far too many supercomputers and far too many years to complete due to the limitations in speed and computer hardware. A way to overcome this problem is to develop multiscale modeling procedures. Our recent work has provided an efficient analytical procedure to coarse-grain structure and dynamics of macromolecular liquids and their mixtures. This “renormalization” approach is a useful starting point in developing novel procedures of multiscale modeling of complex macromolecular fluids, since it allows one to coarse-grain the systems without losing the essential microscopic features responsible for their rich and interesting behavior.

Visualizing the coarse graining procedure in which we renormalize a liquid of polymer chains (which includes monomer structure) into a system of interacting soft colloidal particles.

Selected Publications:

J. McCarty, A. J. Clark, J. Copperman, and M. G. Guenza ``An analytical coarse-graining method which preserves teh free energy, structural correlations, and thermodynamic state of polymer melts from the atomistic to the mesoscale" J. Chem. Phys. 140, 2049131-2049315 (2014).

M. G. Guenza ``Localization of chain dynamics in entangled polymer melts" Phys. Rev. E 89, 0526031-0526035 (2014).

A. Clark, J. McCarty, M. G. Guenza “Effective Potentials for Representing Polymers in Melts as Chains of Interacting Soft Particles” J. Chem. Phys. 139, 124906-124925 (2013).

I. Y. Lyubimov, M. G. Guenza “Theoretical reconstruction of realistic dynamics of highly coarse-grained cis-1,4-polybutadiene melts” J. Chem. Phys. 138, 12A546 (2013).

J. McCarty, A. Clark, I. Y. Lyubimov, M. G. Guenza “Thermodynamic Consistency between Analytical Integral Equation Theory and Coarse-Grained Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Homopolymer Melts” Macromolecules 45, 8482-8493 (2012).

A. Clark, J. McCarty, I. Y. Lyubimov, M. G. Guenza “Thermodynamic consistency in variable-level coarse-graining of polymeric liquids” Physical Review Letters 109, 168301-5 (2012).

I. Lyubimov and M. G. Guenza "First-principle approach to rescale the dynamics of simulated coarse-grained macromolecular liquids" Phys. Rev. E 84, 031801-19 (2011).

J. McCarty, and M. G. Guenza "Multiscale Modeling of Polymer Mixtures: Scale Bridging in the Athermal and Thermal Regime" J. Chem. Phys. 133, 094904 (2010).

I. Y. Lyubimov, J. McCarthy, A. Clark, and M. G. Guenza "Analytical Rescaling of Polymer Dynamics from Mesoscale Simulations" J. Chem. Phys. 132, 2249031-2249035 (2010).

J. McCarty, I, Y, Lyubimov, and M. G. Guenza "Effective Soft-Core Potentials and Mesoscopic Simulations of Binary Polymer Mixtures" Macromol. 43, 3964-3979 (2010).

A. J. Clark, and M. G. Guenza "Mapping of polymer melts onto soft-colloidal chains" J. Chem. Phys. 132, 044902-12 (2010).

This paper has been selected for the February 1, 2010 issue of Virtual Journal of Biological Physics Research at

J. McCarty, I. Lyubimov, M. Guenza "Multi-Scale Modeling of Coarse-Grained Macromolecular Liquids" J. Phys. Chem. B 113, 11876-11886 (2009).

M. Zamponi, A Wischnewski, M. Monkembusch, L. Willner, D. Richter, P. Falus, B. Farago, M.G. Guenza "Cooperative dynamics in homopolymer melts: a comparison with Neutron Spin Echo experiments" J. Phys. Chem. B 112, 16220-16229 (2008).

P. Debnath, M. G. Guenza "Cooperative dynamics in polymer melts from the unentangled to the entangled regime" Phil. Mag. 88, 33-35 (2008).

M. Guenza "Theoretical models for bridging timescales in polymer dynamics" J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 20, 033101-0331024 (2008).

E. J. Sambriski and M. G. Guenza "Theoretical coarse-graining approach to bridge length scales in diblock copolymer liquids" Phys. Rev. E 76, 051801-051813 (2007).

Note: This paper has been selected for the November 12, 2007 issue of Virtual Journal of Nanoscale Science & Technology and  for the November 15, 2007 issue of Virtual Journal of Biological Physics Research.

E. Caballero-Manrique, J. K. Bray, W. A. Deutschman, F. W. Dahlquist and M. G. Guenza “A theory of protein dynamics to predict NMR relaxation” Biophysical Journal 93 (12) 4128-4140 (2007).

E. J. Sambriski, G. Yatsenko, M. A. Nemirovskaya, M. Guenza "Bridging length scales in polymer melt relaxation for macromolecules with specific local structures"  J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 19, 205115-205126 (2007).

M. C. Fink, K. V. Adair, M. G. Guenza, A. H. Marcus "Translational Diffusion of Fluorescent Proteins by Molecular Fourier Imaging Correlation Spectroscopy", Biophys. J. 91, 3482 (2006).

E. J. Sambriski, G. Yatsenko, M. A. Nemirovskaya, M. Guenza  "Analytical coarse-grained description for polymer melts" J. Chem. Phys. 125, 234902 (2006). Note: This paper has been selected for the December 15, 2006 issue of Virtual Journal of Biological Physics Research.

G. Yatsenko, E.J. Sambriski, M. G. Guenza "Coarse-grained description of polymer blends as interacting soft-colloidal particles" J. Chem. Phys. 122, 054907 (2005).

Additional Publications

To Contact Dr. Guenza:
Phone: 541-346-2877