Martin Gruebele, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, "Protein folding inside cells and other crowded environments"

Nov 8 2011, 11:00 am
Distinguished Lecture Series Guest Speaker: 

Martin Gruebele, Ph.D.

James R. Eiszner Endowed Chair in Chemistry;
Professor of Physics and
Center for Biophysics and Computational Biology
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Date & Time: 
Tuesday, November 8, 2011, 11:00AM
Klaus 1116E
Jeffrey Skolnick
Computer simulations are reaching the point where folding of small proteins in vitro can be successfully achieved 'ab initio' by molecular dynamics. Experiments can help further calibrate simulations, and I will discuss two examples. Experiments can also move forward to study protein dynamics in complex environments, such as the interior of the cell. There, modulation of the energy landscape and local viscosity can affect protein stability and folding kinetics. I will discuss experimental examples. The ultimate question, which cannot be answered yet, is whether cells evolved to gainfully modulate protein landscapes after post translational folding and modification, or whether microenvironments in the cell just provide stochastic modulation.
Additional Info: 

The Gruebele Group is engaged in experiments and computational modeling to study a broad range of fundamental problems in chemical and biological physics. A common theme in these experiments is the implementation of state-of-the-art laser techniques to interrogate and manipulate complex molecular systems, coupled with quantum or classical simulations. The results of these efforts are contributing to a deeper understanding of the way that proteins fold into functional 3-dimensional molecules, the details of how chemical bonds are broken by vibrational motion and how this can be controlled, and the switching of energy flow in large molecular structures on surfaces.
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