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Lara Patel


Computational Modeling and Simulation of Aggregation, Biomolecules, and Biophysics

Lara Patel

Research highlight
    Oncogenic mutations in the cell signaling protein Ras account for 20% of cancer cases. Normally functioning Ras interacts with its co-protein GAP to form a transition state with a catalytic site where GTP is hydrolyzed into GDP, telling cells to stop proliferating. Recent experiments by collaborators highlighted that we do not fully understand how GAP assists in creating this catalytic cite. My current work at CNLS has focused on using molecular dynamics simulations to better understanding the interactions between Ras and GAP that facilitate the formation of a catalytic cite. Highlights from previous work:
  • PEACH method for calculation of aggregation free energy surfaces from cluster size histograms. (
  • Phase transitions on a lipid membrane under constant volume finite size constraints. (
 Educational Background/Employment:
  • Ph.D. (2018) Physical Chemistry, Emory University, Atlanta, USA
  • B.A. (2010) Chemistry, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, USA
  • Study Abroad (2009) National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore
  • Employment:
    • 2019-present: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Los Alamos National Laboratory
    • 2012-2018, Teaching Assistant and Graduate Research Student, Emory University

Research Interests:

  • Finite size effects
  • Phase coexistence and transitions
  • Aggregation and nucleation theory
  • Drug discovery method development
  • Geometric and steric constraint effects on binding to a confined catalytic site

Selected Recent Publications:

  1. D. Migliori, L.A. Patel, C. Neale, RIT1 associates with a lipid bilayer via charge complementarity with the C-terminal peptide, Comput. Biol. Chem. (In press)
  2. L.A. Patel, T.J. Yoon, K.A. Maerzke, R.P. Currier, NaCl aggregation in water at elevated temperatures and pressures: Comparison of classical force fields, J. Chem. Phys. (In press)
  3. T.J. Yoon, L. A. Patel, T. Ju, M.J. Vigil, A.T. Findikoglu, R.P. Currier, K.A. Maerzke, Thermodynamics, dynamics, and structure of supercritical water at extreme conditions, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 22, 16051 (2020) (
  4. T. J. Yoon, L.A. Patel, M.J. Vigil, K.A. Maerzke, A.T. Findikoglu, R.P. Currier, Electrical conductivity, ion pairing, and ion self-diffusion in aqueous NaCl solutions at elevated temperatures and pressures, J. Chem. Phys. 151, 224504 (2019) (
  5. L.A. Patel, J.T. Kindt, Simulations of NaCl aggregation from solution: Solvent determines topography of free energy landscape, J. Comp. Chem., 40, 135 (2019) (
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