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The Soft Matter and Interfaces Group

On-going effort to tell you how I (Ana Vila Verde) and my research group spend our time. You'll know I've pulled myself together when there is enough information here to make it useful.

Dr. Ana Vila Verde (she)

WOS ResearcherID: H-7805-2013

My CV, funding, referee activities can be seen in my ORCID record. My pubIons record is also reasonably informative (my referee activities are incomplete, though); my Scopus record is out-of-date.

Publications: best checked in my Google Scholar profile, which I keep tidy and up-to-date (mostly).

Postal address University of Duisburg-Essen, Faculty of Physics (AG Wolf), Lotharstr. 1, 47057 Duisburg, Germany

Where I do my thinking: building MG, office 383 (3rd floor), Lotharstr. 1, 47057 Duisburg, Germany

Email: ana.araujo-vila-verde _at_


(For now, just a few place holders. Soon I'll write something that conveys how excited I am about what I do - hint: I like doing the work more than I like writing my webpage.)

We use particle-based simulation methods to investigate the structure and dynamics of soft matter and of interfaces, both biological and inorganic. We use mainly classical molecular dynamics or Monte Carlo methods and a variety of levels of description of matter (fixed-charge or polarizable all-atom, coarse-grained), with emphasis on advanced simulation techniques to enhance sampling of phase space thus allowing the calculation of thermodynamic observables such as relative free energies.

  • Halophilic proteins: understanding the origin of their surprising functionality at high salt concentrations
  • Fluorinated (bio)molecules: how fluorination impacts the structure, dynamics and thermodynamics of hydration, the hydrophobic effect, and protein stability and conformation
  • Mechanical response of proteins to applied force
  • Hydration of inorganic and organic ions; ion-ion interactions
  • Force field development


PhD Students

  • Hosein Geraili [1], currently based at my former workplace, the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Golm, Germany.

Former Members

I have been fortunate to work with some wonderful students and post-docs. Here they are:

  • Dr. Ana Elisa Bergues-Pupo [2], currently at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association
  • Dr. João Robalo [3], currently at the Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces, Golm.
  • Dr. Sadra Kashefolgheta [4]
  • Dr. Chuanfu Luo, currently at the State Key Laboratory of Polymer Physics and Chemistry, Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun 130022, China.


  • Dr. Kerstin Blank [5], Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Golm, Germany.
  • Prof. Dr. Dor Ben-Amotz [6], Dept. Chemistry, Purdue University, USA.
  • Prof. Dr. Beate Koksch [7], Department of Biology, Chemistry, Pharmacy/, Free University of Berlin, Germany.
  • Prof. Dr. Petra Imhof [Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg], Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy, Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany.
  • Prof. Dr. Melanie Schnell [8], Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Germany.

Force field input files and tutorials

Parameters for the AMBER/GAFF force field

The Amber/GAFF suite of force fields is widely used by the molecular simulation community. We have recently developed Lennard-Jones parameters [9] that better describe ion-ion and ion-TIP3P water interactions, fully compatible with AMBER/GAFF. We provide improved parameters for the interaction of anions (carboxylates, sulfates, sulfonates, phosphates) with TIP3P water and with important cations (sodium, ammonium and primary amines). We strongly recommend using these parameters to adequately describe, e.g., salt bridges between acidic amino acids and lysine, and protein solvation at high NaCl concentrations. Many of the ions are present in buffer solutions typically used experimentally; our parameters enable investigating the impact of buffers on protein structure and dynamics.

To use these parameters, the simplest way is to email Ana Vila Verde for AMBER input files.

If you want to learn how to modify Lennard-Jones parameters in the Amber force field, read through this tutorial. It explains how to:

  • Modify the self-interaction Lennard-Jones parameters of oxygens of carboxylate groups in proteins.
  • Modify the Lennard-Jones parameters defining the interaction between sodium ions and the oxygens of carboxylate groups in proteins.

Research affiliations and funding