Prof. Dan Thomas Major
Prof. Major completed his undergraduate studies in chemistry and computer sciences at Bar-Ilan University in 1997. He received his Ph.D. from Bar-Ilan University in 2003 under Prof. Bilha Fischer. During his Ph.D. he worked on molecular properties of nucleotide derivatives, theoretical modeling of G-protein coupled receptors, as well as molecular recognition.
He did a post-doctorate at the University of Minnesota under Prof. Jiali Gao during the years 2003-2006. During his post-doctorate he was involved in development and application of theoretical methods for enzyme catalysis.
Since 2007 he is a Faculty member in the Chemistry Department at Bar-Ilan University. His main research interests are in the field of computational chemistry, computational biochemistry, and computational nanotechnology.
ACADEMIC AWARDS AND DISTINCTIONS
- Krill Prize (Wolf Foundation), 2009.
- Alon Fellowship, 2008-2010.
- Fulbright Scholarship, 2003-2004.
- Excellence in teaching, Rector’s Office, Bar-Ilan University, 2001.
- Eshkol Scholarship, 2000-2003.
- Excellent young scientist from the Israeli Chemical Society, 2001.
- Moris Benin Prize, 1999.
- Bar-Ilan University Chemistry Department Prize, 1998.
- Wolf Foundation Prize, young scientist, 1998.
- Rachel and Reuven Jacobs Prize, 1997.
- Theoretical study of enzymatic and solution-phase reactions using state-of-the-art combined quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics Hamiltonians
- Molecular Dynamics and Monte Carlo simulations of proteins
- Development of novel path-integral simulation methodology for the investigation of quantum nuclear effects in solution phase and enzymatic reactions
- Development of hybrid quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics Hamiltonians
- High-level quantum mechanical calculations of small biomolecules
- Molecular modeling of membrane proteins
- Docking studies of protein-ligand interactions
- Theoretical study of Lithium batteries properties (http://www.inrep.co.il)
- Theoretical study of photovoltaics
- Roston, D.; Kohen, A.; Doron, D.; Major, D. T. Simulations of Remote Mutants of Dihydrofolate Reductase Reveal the Nature of a Network of Residues Coupled to Hydride Transfer. J. Comput. Chem. 2014 Accepted.
- Doron, D.; Kohen, A.; Nam, K.; Major, D. T. How accurate are transition states from simulations of enzymatic reactions? J. Chem. Theory Comput. 2014 Accepted
- Major, D. T.; Freud, Y.; Weitman, M. Catalytic Control in Terpenoid Cyclases: Multiscale Modeling of Thermodynamic, Kinetic, and Dynamic Effects. Submitted to Curr. Opin. Chem. Biol. 2014 Accepted (Invited paper).
- Doron, D.; Weitman, M.; Vardi-Kilshtain, A.; Azuri, A.; Engel, H.; Major, D. T. Multi-scale quantum-classical simulations of enzymes. Isr. J. Chem. 2014 Accepted (Invited paper).
- Zilbershtein-Shklanovsky , L.; Weitman, M.; Major, D. T.; Fischer, B. Rules for the design of highly fluorescent nucleoside probes - 8-(substituted cinnamyl)-adenosine analogues. J. Org. Chem. 2013, 78, 11999-12008.
- Buhbut, S.; Clifford, J. N.; Kosa, M.; Anderson, A.; Shalom, M.; Major, D. T.; Palomares, E.; Zaban, A. Controlling dye aggregation, injection energetics, and catalytic recombination in organic sensitizer based dye cells using a single electrolyte additive. Energy & Environmental Science. 2013, 6, 3046-3053. http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2013/ee/c3ee41486h#!divAbstract
- Osnis, A.; Kosa, M.; Aurbach, D.; Major, D. T. A systematic first-principles investigation of mixed transition metal olivine phosphates LiM1-yM’yPO4 (M/M’=Mn, Fe, Co) as cathode materials. J. Phys. Chem. C 2013, 117, 17919–17926. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jp402755r
- Vardi-Kilshtain, A.; Doron, D.; Major, D. T. Quantum and classical simulations of orotidine monophosphate decarboxylase: Support for a direct decarboxylation mechanism. Biochemistry 2013, 52, 4382-4390. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/bi400190v
- Pour, N.; Gofer, Y.; Major, D. T.; Keinan-Adamsky, K.; Gottlieb, H.; Aurbach, D. Multinuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and density functional theory calculations for the identification of the equilibrium species in THF solutions of organo-metallic complexes suitable as electrolyte solutions for rechargeable Mg batteries. Organometallics 2013, 32, 3165-3173. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/om300865a
- Major, D. T.; Weitman, M. Electrostatically Guided Dynamics - the Root of Fidelity in a Promsicuous Terpene Synthase? J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 19454-19462. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja308295p
- Vardi-Kilshtain, A.; Major, D. T.; Kohen, A.; Engel, H.; Doron, D. Hybrid Quantum and Classical Simulations of the Formate Dehydrogenase Catalyzed Hydride Transfer Reaction on an Accurate Semi-Empirical Potential Energy Surface. J. Chem. Theory Comput. 2012, 8, 4786-4796. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ct300628e
- Doron, D.; Kohen, A.; Major, D. T. Collective Reaction Coordinate for Hybrid Quantum and Molecular Mechanics Simulations: A Case Study of the Hydride Transfer in Dihydrofolate Reductase. J. Chem. Theory Comput. 2012, 8, 2484-2496. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ct300235k
- Stern, N.; Major, D. T.; Gottlieb, H. E.; Weizman, D.; Fischer, B. Speciation and Characterization by Potentiometric Titrations, NMR, and Molecular Dynamics Simulations. J. Biol. Inorg. Chem. 2012, 17, 861-879. http://www.springerlink.com/content/0949-8257/10.1007/s00775-012-0903-2
- Engel, H.; Doron, D.; Kohen, A.; Major, D. T. Momentum Distribution as a Fingerprint of Quantum Delocalization in Enzymatic Reactions: Open-Chain Path-Integral Simulations of Model Systems and the Hydride Transfer in Dihydrofolate Reductase. J. Chem. Theory Comput. 2012, 8, 1223–1234. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ct200874q
- Osnis, A.; Sukenik, C. N.; Major, D. T. Structure of Carboxyl Acid Terminated Self-Assembled Monolayers from Molecular Dynamics Simulations and Hybrid Quantum Mechanics-Molecular Mechanics Vibrational Normal Mode Analysis. J. Phys. Chem. C 2012, 116, 770-782. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jp208443u
- Vardi-Kilshtain, A.; Azuri, A.; Major, D. T. Path-Integral Calculations of Heavy Atom Kinetic Isotope Effects in Condensed Phase Reactions Using Gradient-Based Forward Corrector Algorithms. J. Comp. Chem. 2012, 33, 435-441. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jcc.21986/abstract
- Doron, D.; Major, D. T.; Kohen, A.; Thiel, W.; Wu, X. Hybrid quantum and classical simulations of the dihydrofolate reductase catalyzed hydride transfer reaction on an accurate semi-empirical potential energy surface. J. Chem. Theory Comput. 2011, 7, 3420-3437. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ct2004808
- Lin, Y. L.; Gao, J.; Rubinstein, A.; Major, D. T. Molecular Dynamics Simulations of the Intramolecular Proton Transfer and Carbanion Stabilization in the Pyridoxal 5-phosphate Dependent Enzymes L-Dopa Decarboxylase and Alanine Racemase. Invited review. BBA Proteins and Proteomics. 2011, 1814, 1438-1446. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbapap.2011.05.002
- Margulis-Goshen, K.; Weitman, M.; Major, D. T.; Magdassi, S. Celecoxib nanoparticles formed from volatile microemulsions: an inhibitory effect of glycyrrhizinate on crystallization in aqueous medium. J. Pharm Sci. 2011, 100, 4390-4400. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jps.22623/abstract
- Pour, N.; Gofer, Y. Major, D. T.; Aurbach, D. Structural Analysis of Electrolyte Solutions for Rechargeable Mg Batteries Comprising Magnesium-Aluminate Chloro-Phenyl Complexes by Electrochemical, Spectroscopic, Diffractometric means and DFT Calculations. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2011, 133, 6270-6278. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ja1098512
- Azuri, A.; Engel, H.; Doron, D.; Major, D. T. Path-Integral Calculations of nuclear quantum effects in model systems, small molecules, and enzymes via gradient-based forward corrector algorithms. J. Chem. Theory Comput. 2011, 7, 1273-1286. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ct100716c
- Weitman, M.; Lerman, K.; Nudelman, A.; Major D. T.; Hizi, A.; Herschhorn, A. Structure-Activity Relationship Studies of 1-(4-Chloro-2,5-dimethoxyphenyl)-3-(3-propoxypropyl)thiourea, a Non-nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type-1. European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 2011, 46, 447-467. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejmech.2010.11.003
- Stern, N.; Major, D. T.; Gottlieb, H. E.; Weizman, D.; Fischer, B. What is the Conformation of Physiologically-Active Dinucleoside Polyphosphates in an Aqueous Solution? Conformational Analysis of Free Dinucleoside Polyphosphates by NMR and Molecular Dynamics Simulations. Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry 2010, 8, 4637-3652. http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlehtml/2010/ob/c005122e
- Rubinstein, A.; Major, D. T. Understanding catalytic specificity in alanine racemase from Quantum Mechanical and Molecular Mechanical simulations of the arginine 219 mutant. Biochemistry 2010, 49, 3957-3964. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/bi1002629
- Weitman, M.; Major, D. T. Challenges posed to bornyl diphosphate synthase: Diverging reaction mechanisms in monoterpenes. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2010, 132, 6349-6360. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ja910134x
- Gabashvili, A.; Major, D. T.; Perkas, N.; Gedanken, A. The sonochemical synthesis and characterization of mesoporous chiral titania using a chiral inorganic precursor. Ultrason. Sonochem. 2010, 17, 605-609. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ultsonch.2009.10.019
- Weitman, M.; Lerman, L.; Nudelman, A.; Major, D. T.; Gottlieb, H. E. Synthesis of imidazoles and oxazoles by the Bredereck reaction. Facile structural elucidation based on 13C-NMR and carbon satellites in the 1H-NMR spectra. Tetrahedron 2010, 66, 1465-1471. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tet.2009.12.019
- Margulis-Goshen, K.; Netivi, H.; Major, D. T.; Gradzielski, M.; Raviv, U.; Magdassi, S. Formation of organic nanoparticles from volatile microemulsions. J. Colloid Interface Sci. 2010, 342, 283-292. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcis.2009.10.024
- Major, D. T.; Heroux, A.; Orville, A. M.; Valley, M. P.; Fitzpatrick, P. F.; Gao, J. Differential quantum mechanical tunneling in the uncatalyzed and in the Nitroalkane Oxidase proton abstraction of nitroethane. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2009, 106, 20734-20739. http://www.pnas.org/content/106/49/20734.full
- Rubinstein, A.; Major, D. T. Catalyzing racemizations in the absence of a cofactor: The reaction mechanism in proline racemase. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2009, 131, 8513-8521. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ja900716y
- Nizri, G.; Lagerge, S.; Kamyshny, A.; Major, D. T.; Magdassi, S. Polymer-Surfactant Interactions: Binding mechanism of Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate to Poly(diallyldimethylammonium chloride). J. Colloid Interface Sci. 2008, 320, 74-81. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcis.2008.01.016
- Gao, J.; Wong, K.-Y.; Major, D. T. Combined QM/MM and path integral simulations of kinetic isotope effects in the proton transfer reaction between nitroethane and acetate ion in water. J. Comput. Chem. 2008, 29, 514-522. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jcc.20810/abstract
- Braverman, S.; Pechenick-Azizi, T.; Major, D. T.; Sprecher, M. b-Halo-a,b-Unsaturated g-Sultones. J. Org. Chem. 2007, 72, 6824-6831. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jo071085q
- Major, D.T.; Gao, J. An Integrated Path Integral and Free Energy Perturbation-Umbrella Sampling Method for Computing Kinetic Isotope Effects of Chemical Reactions in Solutions and in Enzymes. J. Chem. Theory Comput. 2007, 3, 949-960. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ct600371k
- Major, D.T.; Gao, J. A Combined QM/MM Study of the Reaction Mechanism and a-Amino Acidity in Alanine Racemase. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006, 128, 16345-16357. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ja066334r
- Major, D.T.; Nam, K.; Gao, J. Transition State Stabilization and a-Amino Acidity in Alanine Racemase. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006, 128, 8114-8115. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ja062272t
- Gao, J.; Ma, S.; Major, D.T.; Nam, K.; Pu, J.; Truhlar, D. G. Mechanism and Free Energies of Enzymatic Reactions. Chem. Rev. 2006, 106, 3188-3209 (Invited paper). http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/cr050293k
- Major, D.T.; Garcia-Viloca, M.; Gao, J. Path-integral simulations of proton transfer reactions in aqueous solution using a combined QM/MM potential. J. Chem. Theory Comput. 2006, 2, 236-245. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ct050257t
- Major, D.T.; York, D. M.; Gao, J. Solvent polarization and kinetic isotope effects in nitroethane deprotonation and implications to the nitroalkane oxidase reaction. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2005, 127, 16374-16375. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ja055881u
- Major, D.T.; Gao, J. Implementation of the bisection sampling method in path-integral simulations. J. Mol. Graph. Mod. 2005, 24, 121-127 (Invited paper for special issue in honor of Prof. Ian Hillier). http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmgm.2005.04.002
- Major, D. T.; Nahum, V.; Wang, Y. F.; Reiser, G.; Fischer, B. Molecular recognition in purinergic receptors. 2. Diastereoselectivity of the h-P2Y(1)-receptor. J. Med. Chem. 2004, 47, 4405-4416. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jm049771u
- Major, D. T.; Fischer, B. Molecular recognition in purinergic receptors. 1. A comprehensive computational study of the h-P2Y(1)-receptor. J. Med. Chem. 2004, 47, 4391-4404. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jm049772m
- Major, D. T.; Fischer, B. Theoretical study of the pH-dependent photophysics of N1,N6-ethenoadenine and N3,N4-ethenocytosine. J. Phys. Chem. A. 2003, 107, 8923-8931. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jp0340515
- Major, D. T.; Laxer, A.; Fischer, B. Protonation studies of modified adenine and adenine nucleotides by theoretical calculations and 15N NMR. J. Org. Chem. 2002, 67, 790-802. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jo0107554
- Laxer, A.; Major, D. T.; Gottlieb, H. E.; Fischer, B. (15N (5))-labeled adenine derivatives: Synthesis and studies of tautomerism by 15N NMR spectroscopy and theoretical calculations. J. Org. Chem. 2001, 66, 5463-5481. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jo010344n
- Major, D. T.; Halbfinger, E.; Fischer, B. Molecular Recognition of Modified Adenine Nucleotides by the P2Y1-Receptor. Part II. A Computational Approach. J. Med. Chem. 1999, 42, 5338-5347. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jm9901576
- Fischer, B.; Halbfinger, E.; Major, D. T.; Ritzmann, M.; Ubl, J. J.; Reiser, G.; Boyer, J. L.; Harden, K. T. Molecular recognition of modified adenine nucleotides by the P2Y1-receptor. Part I. A synthetic, biochemical and NMR approach. J. Med. Chem. 1999, 42, 5325-5337. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jm990156d
- Fischer, B.; Yefidoff, R.; Major, D. T.; Rutman-Halili, I.; Shneyvays, V.; Zinman, T.; Jacobson, K. A.; Shainberg A. Characterization of ‘mini-nucleotides’ as P2X-receptor agonists in rat cardiocytes culture. An integrated synthetic, biochemical and theoretical study. J. Med. Chem. 1999, 42, 2685-2696. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jm990085i
- Wong, K.-Y.; Song, L.; Xie, W.; Major, D. T.; Lin, Y.-L.; Cembran, A.; Gao, J. Quantum Mechanical Methods for Biomolecular Simulations. in Multi-Scale Quantum Models for Biocatalysis. Modern Techniques and Applications, Editor York, D. M., Lee, T. -S., pp. 79-101, Springer; Netherlands, 2009.
- Gao, J.; Wong, K.-Y.; Major, D. T.; Cembran, A.; Song, L.; Lin, Y.-L.; Fan, Y.; Ma, S. Kinetic Isotope Effects from Hybrid Classical and Quantum Path-Integral Simulations. in Quantum Tunnelling in Enzyme-Catalyzed Reactions, Editor Scrutton, N. S.; Allemann, R. K., RCS Publishing; CITY, 105-131, 2009.
- Gao, J.; Major, D. T.; Fan, Y.; Lin, Y.-L.; Ma, S.; Wong, K.-Y. Hybrid Quantum and Classical Methods for Computing Kinetic Isotope Effects of Reactions in Solution and in Enzymes. in Molecular Modeling of Proteins, Editor Andreas Kukol, The Humana Press Inc.; Totwa, NJ, 2007.
- Introduction to quantum chemistry
- Computational chemistry
- Mathematical models in chemistry (molecular modeling)
Computational Chemistry, Computational Biochemistry, Computational Nanotechnology
- Development of quantum simulation tools for nuclear quantum effects in enzyme catalysis. This entails development of new path-integral methods for the simulations of zero-point energy and tunneling effects in condensed phase environments. Several new methods are being developed and are incorporated into simulation platforms for enzymatic reactions.
- Development of hybrid quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics methods. This includes the development of specific reaction parameter semi-empirical Hamiltonians for use in enzyme simulations. Additionally, we also develop novel perturbation approaches wherein a low-level Hamiltonian is perturbed into a higher level one with a view to enhance accuracy at a reduced computational cost.
- Study dynamical effects and tunnelling in enzyme catalysis through hydrogen transfer reactions. This involves studying several important enzyme systems such as the hydride transfer in dihydrofolate reductase and formate dehydrogenase.
- Enzyme mechanisms through heavy atom kinetic isotope effects. This approach entails the study of the reaction mechanism in deaminase and decarboxylase enzymes via heavy atom kinetic isotope effects.
- Enzyme mechanisms in a variety of systems, such as
- Terpenes (monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes)
- Racemases (alanine racemase, proline racemase, serine racemase)
- Dihydrofolate reductase and formate dehydrogenase
- Properties of functional surface groups in self-assembled monolayers. This project includes the computation of the pH-dependent vibrational spectrum of carboxylate terminated monolayers via novel QM/MM applications in combination with molecular dynamics simulations.
- Properties of cathode material in lithium batteries using density functional theory approaches (http://www.inrep.co.il)
- Properties of solar cell materials using density functional theory approaches
DHFR quantum simulations: Open path-integral simulations of transferring hydride
Alanine racemase simulations: Free energy simulations
QM/MM region in the monoterpene enzyme bornyl diphosphate
Docked structures in Nitroalkane Oxidase using hybrid QM/MM NOE based MD docking
Comparisons of X-ray structure and docked structure in Nitroalkane Oxidase
The Major research group:
Head of group:
Dan T Major (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Monica Kosa (email@example.com) (Post-doc)
Alina Osnis (firstname.lastname@example.org) (Post-doc)
Alexandra Vardi (email@example.com) (Post-doc)
Reuven Eitan (firstname.lastname@example.org) (Post-doc)
Dvir Doron (Dvir.Doron@biu.ac.il) (PhD Student)
Tali Engel (email@example.com) (PhD student)
Yehoshua Freud (firstname.lastname@example.org) (MSc student)
Neta Nitoker (email@example.com) (MSc student)
Yaron Pshetitsky (firstname.lastname@example.org) (MSc student)
Haim Sazan (email@example.com) (MSc student)
Michal Weitman (firstname.lastname@example.org) (Post-doc)
Hila Marciano (email@example.com) (MSc student)
Karin Povolzki (firstname.lastname@example.org) (MSc student)
Daniel Roston (Visiting student)
Asaf Azuri (MSc student)
Amir Rubinstein (MSc student)