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2015 News in Brief



New Research Reveals Complex Role of Water in Collagen

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For the first time, research combining experimental work and detailed molecular simulations has revealed the complex role that water plays in collagen, a protein that is a component of tendons, bone, skin and other structural tissues. Co-authors Professor Markus Buehler and postdoc Shu-Wei Chang PhD ’14, plus researchers at MIT and the Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces, reported in the journal Nature Communications that adding or removing even small amounts of water from collagen in tendons can generate forces as much as 300 times stronger than the forces generated by muscles. The materials were analyzed using an atom-by-atom computer model that simulates the structure down to the level of individual molecules, providing a detailed view of the underlying mechanisms that complement the physical experiments. Read the MIT News story.