Mesopotamia Nowotarski completes her Ph.D. for “Elucidating Phosphate Cluster Formation Mechanisms through NMR”!

Mesopotamia (Mia) joined the Han Lab in 2018 after graduating from Florida State University. Her research focused on utilizing phosphorous NMR and various magnetic resonance-based techniques to prove the existence of pseudospin entangled Posner molecules. Mia’s dissertation is on the topic “Elucidating Phosphate Cluster Formation Mechanisms through NMR”. Phosphates play a ubiquitous role in biology, from structural components including cell membranes and bone to energy storage via ATP, but the solution phase space leading to the formation of phosphate clustering is not entirely understood. Mia’s work will help elucidate the role of phosphate clusters in biological solutions and the unresolved formation pathway of bone. Furthermore, her research will shed additional insight onto 31P nuclei quantum mechanical properties, specifically those found in Posner Clusters of molecular formula Ca9(PO4)6, which are implicated to function as a platform for quantum computation in cognitive processes. Mia’s defense aimed to discuss solution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) experiments that show simple phosphate species including orthophosphates, pyrophosphates, and adenosine phosphates associate into dynamic assemblies in dilute aqueous solutions that are spectroscopically "dark”, highlighting a hitherto unreported property of phosphate's native state in biological solutions. She also discussed solid state NMR spin counting experiments of calcium phosphate species at varying time points in their structural evolution that were vitrified at 100 K and showed calcium phosphate prenucleation clusters with a minimum of five dipolar coupled 31P atoms. Her results provided a novel basis for the characterization of nonclassical growth pathways and led to developments in freeze quench instrumentation. Mia’s humor and kind soul will be missed! Congratulations, Dr. Mia Nowotarski!

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