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  1. Abstract Magnetized plasma interactions are ubiquitous in astrophysical and laboratory plasmas. Various physical effects have been shown to be important within colliding plasma flows influenced by opposing magnetic fields, however, experimental verification of the mechanisms within the interaction region has remained elusive. Here we discuss a laser-plasma experiment whereby experimental results verify that Biermann battery generated magnetic fields are advected by Nernst flows and anisotropic pressure effects dominate these flows in a reconnection region. These fields are mapped using time-resolved proton probing in multiple directions. Various experimental, modelling and analytical techniques demonstrate the importance of anisotropic pressure in semi-collisional, high- β plasmas, causing a reduction in the magnitude of the reconnecting fields when compared to resistive processes. Anisotropic pressure dynamics are crucial in collisionless plasmas, but are often neglected in collisional plasmas. We show pressure anisotropy to be essential in maintaining the interaction layer, redistributing magnetic fields even for semi-collisional, high energy density physics (HEDP) regimes.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  2. Water, energy, and food are all essential components of human societies. Collectively, their respective resource systems are interconnected in what is called the “nexus”. There is growing consensus that a holistic understanding of the interdependencies and trade-offs between these sectors and other related systems is critical to solving many of the global challenges they present. While nexus research has grown exponentially since 2011, there is no unified, overarching approach, and the implementation of concepts remains hampered by the lack of clear case studies. Here, we present the results of a collaborative thought exercise involving 75 scientists and summarize them into 10 key recommendations covering: the most critical nexus issues of today, emerging themes, and where future efforts should be directed. We conclude that a nexus community of practice to promote open communication among researchers, to maintain and share standardized datasets, and to develop applied case studies will facilitate transparent comparisons of models and encourage the adoption of nexus approaches in practice.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 11, 2023
  3. Carosi, G. ; Rybka, G. (Ed.)
    An overview of our experimental program to search for axion and axion-like-particle (ALP) dark matter using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) techniques is presented. An oscillating axion field can exert a time-varying torque on nuclear spins either directly or via generation of an oscillating nuclear electric dipole moment (EDM). Magnetic resonance techniques can be used to detect such an effect. The first-generation experiments explore many decades of ALP parameter space beyond the current astrophysical and laboratory bounds. It is anticipated that future versions of the experiments will be sensitive to the axions associated with quantum chromodynamics (QCD) having masses <10^(−9) eV/c^2.
  4. Microbial conversion of aromatic compounds is an emerging and promising strategy for valorization of the plant biopolymer lignin. A critical and often rate-limiting reaction in aromatic catabolism is O -aryl-demethylation of the abundant aromatic methoxy groups in lignin to form diols, which enables subsequent oxidative aromatic ring-opening. Recently, a cytochrome P450 system, GcoAB, was discovered to demethylate guaiacol (2-methoxyphenol), which can be produced from coniferyl alcohol-derived lignin, to form catechol. However, native GcoAB has minimal ability to demethylate syringol (2,6-dimethoxyphenol), the analogous compound that can be produced from sinapyl alcohol-derived lignin. Despite the abundance of sinapyl alcohol-based lignin in plants, no pathway for syringol catabolism has been reported to date. Here we used structure-guided protein engineering to enable microbial syringol utilization with GcoAB. Specifically, a phenylalanine residue (GcoA-F169) interferes with the binding of syringol in the active site, and on mutation to smaller amino acids, efficient syringol O -demethylation is achieved. Crystallography indicates that syringol adopts a productive binding pose in the variant, which molecular dynamics simulations trace to the elimination of steric clash between the highly flexible side chain of GcoA-F169 and the additional methoxy group of syringol. Finally, we demonstrate in vivo syringol turnover in Pseudomonas putida KT2440more »with the GcoA-F169A variant. Taken together, our findings highlight the significant potential and plasticity of cytochrome P450 aromatic O -demethylases in the biological conversion of lignin-derived aromatic compounds.« less