I am doing research in the area of applied dynamics with applications to the multi-body problem, low energy trajectory design, and chemical reaction dynamics. I have also done research on geometric mechanics of nonholonomic systems. Currently, my main research interest is on the control of DNA division via parametric resonance with a THz field.

In the new paper, we study the internal resonance, energy transfer, activation mechanism, and control of a model of DNA division via parametric resonance. While the system is robust to noise, this study shows that it is sensitive to specific fine scale modes and frequencies that could be targeted by low intensity electro-magnetic fields in the THz range for triggering and controlling the division. The DNA model is a chain of pendula in a Morse potential. While the (possibly parametrically excited) system has a large number of degrees of freedom and a large number of intrinsic time scales, global and slow variables can be identified by (1) first reducing its dynamic to two modes exchanging energy between each other and (2) averaging the dynamic of the reduced system with respect to the phase of the fastest mode. Surprisingly, the global and slow dynamic of the system remains Hamiltonian (despite the parametric excitation) and the study of its associated effective potential shows how parametric excitation can turn the unstable open state into a stable one. Numerical experiments support the accuracy of the time-averaged reduced Hamiltonian in capturing the global and slow dynamic of the full system.

The suggested method of control is supported not only by the observation that DNA vibrations induced by electric fields or microwave absorption are an experimental reality but also by the fact that electric field-induced molecular vibrations have already been used as a noninvasive cell transfection protocol. Our study also raises the question on whether enzymes are using the proposed mechanism to initiate the opening of DNA strands. This question is to put into correspondence with increasing theoretical and experimental evidence that low-frequency vibrations do exist and play significant biological functions in proteins, DNA molecules, and other bio-macromolecules.

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