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Academic Calendar

Event Scheduled for Oct 28, 2011

Event: ME Fall 2011 Seminar Series (co-sponsored by the MCSE group): 'Cellular Forces and Molecular Responses,' Dr. Dennis E. Discher, Biophysical Engineering Lab, University of Pennsylvania

Location: UTEB 150

Time: 02:00 pm

Details of Event:
Abstract : Cells generate force and are also exposed to external forces, but the extent of molecular-scale remodeling remains largely unknown. Do proteins within cells unfold under force and change in tertiary structure, and/or do the proteins dissociate from each other with changes in quaternary structure due to stress? We have developed a suite of nano-mechanical and chemical physics approaches to address these questions. Coupled AFM nano-mechanochemical schemes with purified proteins [1] establish a general methodology for cell studies, and the strong temperature dependence of biomolecular transitions must be appreciated [2]. The nanomechanical probing has been further used to characterize the compliance of substrates that cells adhere to and apply stresses to (in proportion to substrate compliance) [3, 4]. This fact together with the entire set of experimental/computational
methods can be extended to help identify within living cells proteins and their sites that indeed unfold and dissociate under stress [5, 6]. How these processes contribute to the collective self-organization of the cytoskeleton is a topic of ongoing interest [7].
Biographical Sketch: Dennis E. Discher is the Robert D. Bent Professor at the University of Pennsylvania in the School of Engineering and Applied Science and in the Graduate Groups in Physics, Cell & Molecular Biology, and
Pharmacology. He received a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1993 for studies in cell membrane biophysics and protein spliceoform function, and was a US National Science Foundation International Fellow at the University of British Columbia until 1996. He has coauthored more than 150
publications with over 10,000 citations that range in topic from matrix effects on stem cells and nuclear biophysics to mass spectrometry of protein folding and self-assembling polymers for siRNA delivery, with papers appearing in Cell, Science, PNAS, and Nature Physics among other journals. Honors and Service
include a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from the US- National Science Foundation, the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Award from the Humboldt Foundation of Germany, and
membership on the editorial board for Science. For additional information, please contact Prof. Yen-Lin Han at (860) 486-5919, ylhan@engr.uconn.edu or
Laurie Hockla at (860) 486-2189, hockla@engr.uconn.edu

Target Audience: Open to All

Sponsored By: Mechanical Engineering

Pamphlet/Flyer: View file here


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