Molecular modeling and computer simulation techniques can provide detailed insight into biochemical phenomena. This dissertation describes the development, implementation and parameterization of two methods for the accurate modeling of chemical reactions in aqueous environments, with a concerted scientific effort towards the inclusion of charge-dependent non-bonded non-electrostatic interactions into currently used computational frameworks. The first of these models, QXD, modifies interactions in a hybrid quantum mechanical/molecular (QM/MM) mechanical framework to overcome the current limitations of ‘atom typing’ QM atoms; an inaccurate and non-intuitive practice for chemically active species as these static atom types are dictated by the local bonding and electrostatic environment of the atoms they represent, which will change over the course of the simulation. The efficacy QXD model is demonstrated using a specific reaction parameterization (SRP) of the Austin Model 1 (AM1) Hamiltonian by simultaneously capturing the reaction barrier for chloride ion attack on methylchloride in solution and the solvation free energies of a series of compounds including the reagents of the reaction. The second, VRSCOSMO, is an implicit solvation model for use with the DFTB3/3OB Hamiltonian for biochemical reactions; allowing for accurate modeling of ionic compound solvation properties while overcoming the discontinuous nature of conventional PCM models when chemical reaction coordinates. The VRSCOSMO model is shown to accurately model the solvation properties of over 200 chemical compounds while also providing smooth, continuous reaction surfaces for a series of biologically motivated phosphoryl transesterification reactions. Both of these methods incorporate charge-dependent behavior into the non-bonded interactions variationally, allowing the ‘size’ of atoms to change in meaningful ways with respect to changes in local charge state, as to provide an accurate, predictive and transferable models for the interactions between the quantum mechanical system and their solvated surroundings.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. October 2015. Major: Chemistry. Advisor: Darrin York. 1 computer file (PDF); x, 194 pages.
Charge-dependent non-bonded interaction methods for use in quantum mechanical modeling of condensed phase reactions.
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