B. Montgomery Pettit Ph.D.

Pettit, B. Montgomery
Position Department / Business Unit
Cullen Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Department of Chemistry
Institution Disciplines
University of Houston Chemistry
City State / Provence
Houston Texas
Country Website
United States link
Research Interests

(1) Development of methods for calculating internal conformational structure and interpreting conformational equilibria of biomolecules in aqueous environments.

(2) Stability and thermodynamics of multiple strand DNA/RNA structures on surfaces both dielectric and metallic.

(3) Peptide/Protein folding via solution stability criteria. Theory of biomolecular solution phase separations.

(4) Structural and thermodynamic description of neat polar molecular fluids, including water, ions, polar biomolecular solutes and other condensed phase systems via integral equation and density functional methods.

(5) Development of theoretical techniques for the description of the thermodynamics and structure of biomolecules as anisotropic fluids.

(6) Development of computer simulation methodology for material science and biotechnology.

(7) Polymer correlations in composite materials. Interactions with graphite and carbon-black.

The solution environment as well as the sequence are known to determine the conformation, kinetic and thermodynamic behavior of polymers. It is widely appreciated for biopolymers that biological activity is usually found within a narrow range of solvent and salt concentration. Formulating hypotheses to explain this sensitivity is a unifying goal for the studies in the laboratory. The physical sensitivity is also reflected in a parameter sensitivity in theories and simulations of these systems which must be accounted for in any physical interpretations. Projects in this laboratory bring theoretical and calculational approaches to bear to an array of problems.

An area of considerable interest to us is how the presence of a surface, either, dielectric or metallic, affects the binding affinities between targets and probes. This is an improtant problem for optimizing DNA chips and Protein-chips. We have both theoretical and computational work which shows how one can optimize such surface effects to gain the most sensitivity in a DNA analysis.


B.S.,B.S., University of Houston, 1975; Ph.D., University of Houston, 1980


Honors, Fellowships, etc.:

Alfred P. Sloan Fellow 1989-1993
Teaching Excellence Award, University of Houston 1992
Fellow of the American Physical Society, 1993
Alumni Outstanding Faculty Award, University of Houston 1999
Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Houston 2000
Robert A. Welch Lecturer in Chemistry, 2001
American Chemical Society Local Section Award 2002
ALA achievement award 2003

By this Researcher

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