Onuchic Minicourse on Energy Landscapes in Biophysics


On Sunday March 8, Prof. Jose Nelson Onuchic (Rice Univ.) will present a minicourse of two lectures on energy landscapes in biophysics. This minicourse will precede the Minischool on Biophysics of Protein Interactions from March 9-13.

Program for Sunday March 8 (IFT-UNESP auditorium):

13:00 Registration (for participants of the Minischool on Biophysics of Protein Interactions, only)

14:00 Lecture 1: The physics of protein folding: energy landscapes and funnels

15:45 Coffee break

16:15 Lecture 2: The energy landscape of bimolecular machines

It is amazing how cells have created a number of molecular machines specialized for undertaking tasks needed to control and maintain cellular functions with exquisite precision. Due to fact that biomolecules fluctuate via thermal motion and their dynamics is diffusive, biological machines are fundamentally different from those experienced by conventional heat engines or machines in the macroscopic world. One of the key features of biological machines is the conformational changes triggered by the thermal noise under weak environmental perturbation. Therefore we can explain how they behave using ideas borrowed from the energy landscape theory of protein folding and polymer dynamics. This “new view” allows us to envisage the dynamics of molecular motors from the structural perspective and it provides the means to make several quantitative predictions that can be tested by experiments. For the kinesin motor, a prototype of the biological machines in the cell, molecular simulations of an explicit kinesin and microtubule structures show that fluctuations and flexibility inherent to the structure leads to versatile adaptation of the molecular structure, allosteric communication controlled by internal mechanics, and large amplitude stepping motion harnessing the thermal fluctuation. This activity will precede the Minischool on Biophysics of Protein Interactions from March 9-13

There will be no application form for this activity and everyone is welcome to participate. For more information, send email to secretary@ictp-saifr.org. This activity is part of the “Minischool on Biophysics of Protein Interactions” and those who applied for the school are expected to participate in the minicourse.