David A. Brant

Picture of David A. Brant
Professor Emeritus, Chemistry
School of Physical Sciences
Ph.D., Wisconsin, 1962, Physical Chemistry
B.S., Yale, 1958, Chemistry
Phone: (434) 972-2460
Fax: (434) 972-2460
Email: dbrant@uci.edu
University of California, Irvine
250 Pantops Mountain Road, #5225
Charlottesville, VA 22911
Research Interests
Physical chemistry of biological macromolecules and biomaterials; science and mathematics education.
Academic Distinctions
Laurea Honoris Causa, University of Trieste, 2005
Carbohydrate Research Special Issue (v. 340, 2005) Dedicated to D. A. Brant
Lars Onsager Medal, Norwegian University of Science & Technology, 2001
Fellow of the AAAS, 2001
Class of 2001 Outstanding Professor in Physical Sciences, 2001
School of Physical Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award, 1988
NIH-French CNRS Research Fellowship, 1986
UCI Alumni Association Distinguished Teaching Award, 1977
John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, 1976
NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford, 1962-65
Assistant Professor-Professor, UCI, 1965-2005
Associate Dean of Physical Sciences, 1971-1973
Chair of Chemistry, 1980-1984
Chair/Vice-Chair Academic Senate, 1999-2001
Chair of Education, 2002-2005
NSF Biomaterials Program Director, 2006-2015
Research Abstract
I retired from active chemical research in 2005. My research sought to establish the fundamental physical chemical relationship between the primary structure of carbohydrate polymers and the conformation and functionality of these molecules. The dynamics of polysaccharide conformational change were also investigated. Methods used involved light and small angle X-ray scattering, NMR relaxation, rheology, and scanning probe microscopy. Experiments were closely coupled with computer modeling and simulations designed to help interpret the observations.

The most recent topics of interest include the multiply-stranded helical forms adopted in nature by many polysaccharides. These structures are stiff and asymmetric and tend to form liquid crystalline solutions at quite modest concentrations. Our work has explored the viscoelastic implications of crossing the boundaries between isotropic and anisotropic phases by varying temperature and composition. In experimental and theoretical work we have also sought to understand the stability of the multiply-stranded cyclic forms, which at first sight appear to be inconsistent with the stiff helical character of the molecules. This work has been done in conjunction with the collaborators named in the publications list here and many others not included in that list of recent papers.

In my capacity as Chair of the UCI Department of Education (2002-2005), and through NSF science and math education grants on which I was Co-Principal Investigator, I worked to encourage more science and mathematics undergraduate and graduate students to consider teaching as a career and to provide well-defined curricular pathways toward such careers. The UCI CalTeach program was initiated during this period.

From 2006 to 2015 I served as Program Director for the NSF Biomaterials Program in the NSF Division of Materials Research.
Gary E. Washington and David A. Brant, "Model for the Temperature-Induced Conformational Change in Xanthan Polysaccharide," Biomacromolecules, 22, 4691 - 4700 (2021).
David A. Brant, "Versatile Polysaccharides: Ropes, Rings, and Rods," AIM (Associazione Italiana di Scienza e Tecnologia delle Macromolecole) Magazine, 60, 40 – 49 (2005).

Simon Jaud, Douglas J. Tobias, and David A. Brant, "Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Aqueous Pullulan Oligomers", Biomacromolecules, 6, 1239 – 1251 (2005).

Theresa M. McIntire, Ellen Lew, Elva Adalsteins, Ann Blechl, Olin Anderson, David A. Brant, and Donald D. Kasarda, "Atomic Force Microscopy of a Hybrid High-Molecular-Weight Glutenin Subunit from a Transgenic Hexaploid Wheat," Biopolymers, 78, 53 – 61 (2005).

Hu-Cheng Lee and David A. Brant, "Rheology of Concentrated Isotropic and Anisotropic Xanthan Solutions: 3. Temperature Dependence," Biomacromolecules, 3, 742 – 753 (2002).

Hu-Cheng Lee and David A. Brant, "Rheology of Concentrated Isotropic and Anisotropic Xanthan Solutions: 2. A Semiflexible Wormlike Intermediate Molecular Weight Sample," Macromolecules, 35, 2223 – 2234 (2002).

Hu-Cheng Lee and David A. Brant, "Rheology of Concentrated Isotropic and Anisotropic Xanthan Solutions: 1. A Rodlike Low Molecular Weight Sample," Macromolecules, 35, 2212 – 2222 (2002).

Jennifer H.-Y. Liu, Ken A. Brameld, David A. Brant, and William A. Goddard, III, "Conformational Analysis of Aqueous Pullulan Oligomers: An Effective Computational Approach," Polymer, 43, 509 – 516 (2002).

David A. Brant, "Novel Approaches to Analysis of Polysaccharide Structures," Current Opinion in Structural Biology, 9, 556 – 562 (1999).

Jennifer H.-Y. Liu, David A. Brant, Shinichi Kitamura, Kanji Kajiwara, and Mitsuru Mimura, "The Equilibrium Spatial Distribution of Aqueous Pullulan: Small Angle X-Ray Scattering (SAXS) and Realistic Computer Modeling," Macromolecules, 32, 8611 – 8620 (1999).

Angelo Perico, Michele Mormino, Ranieri Urbani, Attilio Cesàro, Emmanuel Tylianakis, Photis Dais, and David A. Brant, "Local Dynamics of Carbohydrates: I. Dynamics of Simple Glycans with Different Chain Linkages," Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 103, 8162 – 8171 (1999).

Theresa M. McIntire and David A. Brant, "Imaging of Carrageenan Macrocycles and Amylose Using Noncontact Atomic Force Microscopy, International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, 26, 303 – 310 (1999).

Susan K. Gregurick, Jennifer H.-Y. Liu, David A. Brant, and R. Benny Gerber, "Anharmonic Vibrational Self-Consistent Field Calculations as an Approach to Improving Force Fields for Monosaccharides," Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 103, 3476 – 3488 (1999).

Theresa M. McIntire and David A. Brant, "Observations of the (1?3)-ß-D-Glucan Linear Triple Helix to Macrocycle Interconversion Using Noncontact Atomic Force Microscopy," Journal of the American Chemical Society, 120, 6909 – 6919 (1998).

David A. Brant, "Shapes and Motions of Polysaccharide Chains," Pure and Applied Chemistry, 69, 1885 – 1892 (1997).
Theresa M. McIntire and David A. Brant, "Imaging of Individual Biopolymers and Supramolecular Assemblies Using Noncontact Atomic Force Microscopy," Biopolymers, 42, 133 – 146 (1997).

Theresa M. McIntire and David A. Brant, "Imaging Carbohydrate Polymers with Noncontact Atomic Force Microscopy," in Techniques in Glycobiology, R. R. Townsend and A. T. Hotchkiss, Editors, Marcel Dekker, New York, Ch. 12, pp. 187 – 208, 1997.

David A. Brant and Theresa M. McIntire, "Cyclic Polysaccharides," in Large Ring Molecules, J. A. Semlyen, Editor, John Wiley and Sons, Chichester, Ch. 4, pp. 113 – 154, 1996.

Theresa M. McIntire, Reginald M. Penner, and David A. Brant, "Observations of a Circular, Triple-Helical Polysaccharide Using Noncontact Atomic Force Microscopy", Macromolecules., 28, 6375 – 6377 (1995).

David A. Brant, Hwa-Song Liu, and Zhiqiang S. Zhu, "The Dependence of Glucan Conformational Dynamics on Linkage Position and Stereochemistry," Carbohydrate Research., 278, 11 – 26 (1995).
Professional Societies
American Chemical Society
Biophysical Society
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Society for Biomaterials
Other Experience
Program Director, Biomaterials
National Science Foundation 2006—2015
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