Theses and Dissertations


Vu Hoang Le

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Lewis, Edwin A.

Committee Member

Rowland, Gerald

Committee Member

Emerson, Joseph P.

Committee Member

Fitzkee, Nicholas C.

Committee Member

Gwaltney, Steven R.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Chemistry


This dissertation is a composite of some of the research that I have conducted during the course of my PhD study. The larger goal of this dissertation is to renew the interests among the scientific community for an otherwise under-appreciated technique called Isothermal Titration Calorimetry. The resurgence of calorimetry in the biophysical community and the shift to investigations of more complex biological systems signal a real need for more sophisticated analysis techniques. This dissertation expounds on new ITC analysis methods that we have developed as well as results from the study of thermodynamic properties of higher order DNA structures. In 1978, Peter Privalov described the first use of microcalorimetry to obtain the thermodynamic properties for removing calcium from parvalbumin III protein. Fast forward 36 years: modern day electronics, highly efficient thermally conductive and chemically inert materials, in conjunction with sensitive thermal detectors, has transformed the original calorimeter into a device capable of measuring heat changes as small as 0.05 nanowatts, which is equivalent to capturing heat from an incandescent light bulb a kilometer away. However, analytical methods have not kept pace with this technology. Commercial ITC instruments are typically supplied with software that only includes a number of simple interaction models. As a result, the lack of analysis tools for more complex models has become a limiting factor for many researchers. We have recently developed new ITC fitting algorithms that we have incorporated into a userriendly program (CHASM©) for the analysis of complex ITC equilibria. In a little over a year, CHASM© has been downloaded by over 370 unique users. Several chapters in this dissertation demonstrate this software’s power and versatility in the thermodynamic investigations of two model systems in both aqueous and non-aqueous media. In chapter VI, we assembled a model NHE-III1 : a novel structure of Gquadruplex in a double stranded form and studied its structural complexity and binding interactions with a classical G-quaduplex interactive ligand known as TMPyP4. In chapter VII, we reported the thermodynamic properties of a novel PAH system in which weak dispersion forces are solely responsible for formation of the supramolecular complexes.