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Christopher Forrey

Research Interests

My research focuses on the dynamics of macromolecules and how chain dynamics (i.e. configurational entropy) affects molecular association. Macromolecular behavior is unquestionably dependent upon configurational entropy, a consequence of the large number of rotatable bonds and internal degrees of freedom. However, the inherent dynamism of macromolecules is often neglected in computer-aided studies of biomolecular association, e.g. in protein-ligand "docking". I use molecular dynamics simulations as a tool to introduce the notion of dynamics into the study of molecular association.

Polymer -Functionalized Nanoparticle InteractionsThe goal of my work is to address the fundamental questions: will two molecules bind with each other? If so, how strongly? What role does dynamics play in the association? Having a better conceptual grasp of these issues will impact a wide range of disciplines, from the design of novel therapeutics to the understanding of supramolecular assembly. 

Virus AssemblyI am actively investigating the following topics: the role of chain flexibility on the association strength of simple model molecules; the effect of chain flexibility on the interaction of surface-grafted nanoparticles with biomolecules; the self-assembly of RNA viruses nucleated by flexible RNA molecule; the dynamics of trehalose glasses and the mechanism of protein preservation; and the morphology of polymer films of block-copolymers as a function of substrate surface topology.

Thesis Publications
  • Forrey, C.; Muthukumar, M. “Simulation of the Equilibrium Genome Structure of Pariacoto Virus”, manuscript in preparation.
  • Forrey, C.; Muthukumar, M. “Langevin Dynamics Studies of ds-DNA Translocation Through Synthetic Nanopores”, Journal of Chemical Physics, 2007, 127, 1, 015102.
  • Forrey, C.; Muthukumar, M. “Langevin Dynamics Simulations of Genome Packing in Bacteriophage”, Biophysical Journal, 2006, 91, 25-41.
  • Forrey C.; Koberstein J.T.; Pan D.H. “Surface Segregation in Miscible Blends of Polystyrene and Poly(vinylmethyl ether): Comparison of Theory and Experiment”, Interface Science, 2003, 13, 211-223.
  • Forrey, C.; Muthukumar, M. “Simulation of RNA-Protein Interactions and the Kinetics of RNA Virus Assembly”, Manuscript in preparation.
photo of Chris Forrey


NRC Postdoctoral Associate
Polymers Division
Complex Fluids Group

Employment History:

2008-present: Polymers Division, NIST


Ph.D., Polymer Science and Engineering, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 2008

M.S., Polymer Science, University of Connecticut, 2001

B.A., Biochemistry, Oberlin College, 1998


Phone: 301-975-6488
Email: cforrey@nist.gov
Fax: 301-975-4924