Investigating the kinetics of protein-ligand complexes using electrochemical techniques

No Thumbnail Available
Cortes, Marcos
Major Professor
Committee Member
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Organizational Unit
Mechanical Engineering
The Department of Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University is where innovation thrives and the impossible is made possible. This is where your passion for problem-solving and hands-on learning can make a real difference in our world. Whether you’re helping improve the environment, creating safer automobiles, or advancing medical technologies, and athletic performance, the Department of Mechanical Engineering gives you the tools and talent to blaze your own trail to an amazing career.
Journal Issue
Is Version Of
Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression
Iowa State University Conferences and Symposia

The Symposium provides undergraduates from all academic disciplines with an opportunity to share their research with the university community and other guests through conference-style oral presentations. The Symposium represents part of a larger effort of Iowa State University to enhance, support, and celebrate undergraduate research activity.

Though coordinated by the University Honors Program, all undergraduate students are eligible and encouraged to participate in the Symposium. Undergraduates conducting research but not yet ready to present their work are encouraged to attend the Symposium to learn about the presentation process and students not currently involved in research are encouraged to attend the Symposium to learn about the broad range of undergraduate research activities that are taking place at ISU.

The first Symposium was held in April 2007. The 39 students who presented research and their mentors collectively represented all of ISU's Colleges: Agriculture and Life Sciences, Business, Design, Engineering, Human Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, and the Graduate College. The event has grown to regularly include more than 100 students presenting on topics that span the broad range of disciplines studied at ISU.


The rate of association/dissociation for a protein-ligand complex is measured by taking thrombin and its aptamer as a model system. Thrombin and its DNA aptamer (a synthetic nucleic acid) form a very stable complex. In our experiment, we first immobilize thrombin on an activated gold slide through covalent bonding. Afterwards, it is treated with the aptamer to form the complex. Then the gold slide is made into a working electrode in a custom designed three-electrode electrochemical cell with a suitable electrolyte. The flow of electrolyte charges is then monitored by using a potentiostat, against the introduction of different concentrations of thrombin into the electrochemical cell. The electrolytic charge is calibrated against different thrombin conditions to analyze the kinetics of association/dissociation of the thrombin-aptamer complex.

Subject Categories