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Dr. Mikhail Kibalchenko

Dr Mikhail Kibalchenko

Dr Mikhail Kibalchenko

2010-2012 TCM Postdoctoral Fellow

2006-2010 TCM PhD Student

Email: mk531 @
Personal web site

Postdoctoral Research

During Dr. Kibalchenko’s post-doctoral appointment at the TCM Group he established a collaboration with the Medical Research Council of the UK to study mitochondrial carrier proteins.

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The aim was to find computational solutions with which to identify the fundamental transport mechanism of mitochondrial carriers. The mitochondrion is a special compartment of the human cell where components of sugar and fat are broken down to generate energy in the form of ATP. ATP is the chemical fuel used by the rest of the cell to carry out its activities. The mitochondrion is enclosed by a membrane that is impermeable to small organic molecules. Transport across the membrane is carried out by mitochondrial carriers that bind compounds on one side of the membrane and then carry it through the membrane for release on the other side.

Dr. Kibalchenko used quantum mechanical calculations to determine the interaction energy involved in substrate binding to relate it to the interaction energy of salt bridge networks. These networks regulate the access of substrates to the central binding site and are critical for efficient transport. Dr. Kibalchenko discovered that the two networks have equivalent interaction energies, which will optimise the transport rate of substrates across the mitochondrial membrane. At the time of writing experimental methods are being developed to verify these values.

Dr. Kibalchenko determined the motions of the three domains that constitute the mitochondrial carrier. Since none of the available computational methods could be applied, a new iterative computational approach was developed and tried that revealed the basic structural transport mechanism. This finding constitutes a fundamental contribution to the field. In the meantime the mechanism has been verified by experimental work and is the subject of an article intended for publication by a high impact journal.

PhD Research

Dr. Kibalchenko’s PhD research focused on applying first-principles density functional theory calculations in combination with experimental techniques to solve problems ranging from material sciences to biology.

The work of Dr. Kibalchenko on the structural properties of germanium selenide glasses has been extremely important in the area of atomic-scale modeling of disordered materials. By taking advantage of a computational technique giving access to the NMR spectra of solids, Dr. Kibalchenko was able to demonstrate that the structure of these glasses is not compatible with the conjecture of a “phase separation model” put forth by several groups of renowned experimentalists. For the first time, pieces of evidence collected by exploiting sophisticated experimental probes (such as neutron scattering via isotope replacement) were compared to clear-cut numerical data obtained by using fully predictive first-principle techniques. This can be considered as an absolute breakthrough in the area of disordered matter.

In his carbon nanotubes research Dr. Kibalchenko discovered that lambda zero nanotubes respond paramagnetically when a magnetic field is applied along the tube axis, while lambda one and lambda two nanotubes respond diamagnetically. This is important information for nanotube applications as drug delivery vehicles with drug molecules encapsulated inside the tubes, as well as using this information for characterizing nanotubes by measuring the change in the chemical shifts of encapsulated molecules.

For biological applications Dr. Kibalchenko established correlates between 1H chemical shift and chemical shift anisotropy with hydrogen bond length as well as solving the hydrogen bond network between three conflicting proposals for alpha-D-galactose.

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