Research in the Levinger group has two main thrusts: dynamics of molecules in confined environments and fundamental processes governing cell cryopreservation.
For many years, we have explored the role of nanoconfinement on the structure and dynamics of molecules in the condensed phase. We are particularly interested in learning how the heterogeneous environment at liquid interfaces influences molecules residing there and the resulting chemistry. We use reverse micelles as a model system to prepare well defined liquid droplets on the nanoscale and have studied them using a range of experimental techniques, such as steady-state and ultrafast time-resolved laser spectroscopies, 1D, 2D and multinuclear NMR, and neutron scattering.
A new thrust for the Levinger group explores how and why some cells can withstand freezing conditions that would normally kill them. We are embarking on a project to explore the role of permeating cryopreservation agents, e.g., glycerol, DMSO. This project aims to uncover how these small molecules cross cell membranes, where they reside in cells and how they protect cells from cold.