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Thesis Defense

Functionalization of Carbon Materials with Metals

Wednesday, March 22, 2017, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Kourtney Wright, Doctoral Candidate

The functionalization of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) with metals has been shown to produce materials with interesting and useful properties which are different from the isolated constituents. Although metal atoms and particles have been attached to CNTs more  »

Thesis Defense

Understanding Functional Roles of Transcription Factor Decoys in Gene Regulation via Mathematical Modeling

Wednesday, March 22, 2017, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Zhipeng Wang, Doctoral Candidate

Gene expressions are essentially regulated by transcription factor-DNA interactions. Many transcription factors bind to DNA with remarkably low specificity, so that the functional binding sites have to compete with an enormous number of non-functiona more  »


Nanoscale gymnastics: Dynamics of protein-DNA complexes with high speed AFM

Wednesday, March 22, 2017, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Yuri L Lyubchenko, Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Nebraska Medical Center

A low data acquisition rate of AFM is a serious deficiency if AFM is applied to imaging of the majority of biological processes. For example, the translocation of RNA polymerase along DNA occurs on the second time scale, therefore the observation on more  »


In the pursuit of higher resolution in live cell imaging … and little perks of microscopy

Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Robert Pal, Research Fellow in the Department of Chemistry, Durham University

The optical probes and cellular stains commonly used in microscopy are usually fluorescent organic molecules or recombinant proteins which have been used in many areas of cellular biology leading to an enhanced understanding of cellular processes and more  »


“Understanding the Effects of Confinement on the Statistics of Biomolecules”

Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
Greg Morrison, Assistant Professor, University of Houston

Abstract: The confinement of biomolecules is ubiquitous in nature, such as the spatial constraints of viral encapsulation and the binding of DNA to the surface of the histone octamer. Advances in microfluidics and nanopore fabrication have permitted more  »

Thesis Defense

Decoding biological gene regulatory networks by quantitative modeling

Monday, March 20, 2017, 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Bin Huang, Doctoral Candidate

Gene regulatory network is essential to regulate the biological functions of cells. With the rapid development of “omics” technologies, the network can be inferred for a certain biological function. However, it still remains a challenge to understa more  »


Using Computer Simulations to Advance our Understanding of Biological Systems at the Atomic Level

Monday, March 20, 2017, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Benoit Roux, Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Department of Pediatrics, Institute of Molecular Pediatric Sciences, University of Chicago

Classical molecular dynamics simulations based on atomic models play an increasingly important role in a wide range of applications in physics, biology and chemistry. The approach consists of constructing detailed atomic models of the macromolecular more  »


Building Structural Complexity via Tandem Catalytic Transformations: Total Syntheses of Bioactive Macrolides and Terpenes

Wednesday, March 8, 2017, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Mingji Dai, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Purdue University

This talk will highlight elements of our recent efforts in developing novel strategies and methodologies for divergent and efficient synthesis of medicinally important natural products. Particular emphasis will be placed on two research projects. One more  »

Thesis Defense

Charge Pairs and Mutations in Collagen Mimetic Peptides

Wednesday, March 8, 2017, 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Katherine Clements, Doctoral Candidate

This thesis will present insights into natural type I collagen based upon studies with collagen mimetic peptides. Natural collagen is a fibrous protein with challenging properties, such as solubility, which makes it difficult to study through analyti more  »


“Studying Directed Cell Migration with Microfluidic Tools”

Tuesday, March 7, 2017, 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
Alex Groisman, Associate Professor of Physics, University of California, San Diego

Abstract: Directed migration in response to spatial non-uniformity of various external cues takes a variety of forms, such as chemo-, photo-, thermo-, aero-, and mechano-taxis. It is vital in the bacterial search for nutrients and energy and in the s more  »


Structural Examined Through the Combined Lenses of Ultrafast and Magnetooptical Spectroscopy

Wednesday, March 1, 2017, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Ken Knappenberger, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Florida State University

Plasmonic nanoparticle assemblies offer unique opportunities for controlling energy at the nanoscale. Here, we describe experimental outcomes in three key areas critical to understanding nanoscale-structure-specific light-matter interactions: 1) sel more  »



“Touring the Protein Energy Landscape: The View Depends on How and When You Look”

Tuesday, February 28, 2017, 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
Susan Marqusee, Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology, Division of Biophysics, Biochemistry and Structural Biology, University of California, Berkeley

Abstract: Understanding the structural and dynamic information encoded in the primary sequence of a protein is one of the most fundamental challenges in modern biology. The amino acid sequence of a protein encodes more than the native three-dimension more  »


Rethinking algorithms in Data Science: Scaling up optimization using non-convexity, provably

Thursday, February 23, 2017, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Dr. Anastasios Kyrillidis, Simons Fellowship Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Texas, Austin

With the quantity of generated data ever-increasing in most research areas, conventional data analytics run into solid computational, storage, and communication bottlenecks. These obstacles force practitioners to often use algorithmic heuristics, in more  »


Gold Nanostar Stability and Use in Complex Matrices

Wednesday, February 22, 2017, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Amanda J. Haes, Associate Professor of Chemistry, University of Iowa

With the growing inclusion and use of nanoparticles in products and devices, developing characterization tools and experimental methods that can be used to predict nanoparticle fate are increasingly important. Two challenges and approaches to better more  »


"Phase Transitions and the Principle of Detailed Balance in Living Systems"

Tuesday, February 21, 2017, 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
Fred MacKintosh, Abercrombie Professor, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Professor of Physics & Astronomy

Abstract: The mechanics of cells and tissues are largely governed by scaffolds of filamentous proteins that make up the cytoskeleton, as well as extracellular matrices. Evidence is emerging that such networks can exhibit rich mechanical phase behavio more  »


Taking charge of proteins (and pediatric ophthalmology)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Bryan F. Shaw, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Baylor University

The first part of this seminar will present an overview of our work in protein electrostatics. We are examining whether the net electrostatic charge of a protein represents a druggable parameter in diseases linked to protein self-assembly. For exampl more  »


Dow Lecture: 2-Dimensional Zeolites

Tuesday, February 14, 2017, 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Michael Tsapatsis, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, University of Minnesota

It is only recently that single-unit-cell thick zeolite nanosheets (2-dimensional zeolites; AIChE Journal 60(7), 2374-2381 (2014) ) with intact crystal and micropore structure were shown to be possible. The structural integrity and uniformity of thes more  »


'Signaling in Cell Shape and Motility: from Single Cells to the Collective Behavior of Multiple Cells”

Tuesday, February 14, 2017, 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
Leah Edelstein-Keshet, Professor, Department of Mathematics, University of British Columbia

Abstract: In this talk I will describe recent work on the signaling inside cells that controls the cytoskeleton, and thereby the shape and motility of a eukaryotic cell. I will focus on our recent analysis of regulatory proteins (the small GTPases Ra more  »


“Cellular Variability and Information Flow in Signal Transduction Networks”

Tuesday, February 7, 2017, 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
Roy Wollman, Associate Professor, University of California, Los Angeles

Abstract: Signaling networks acts as sensors, or measurement devices, that provides information on the extracellular environment to allow cells to respond to environmental changes appropriately. Experimental single cell measurements of signaling res more  »

Lecture/Lecture Series

Franklin Lecture: Self-assembled Plasmonic Structures

Wednesday, February 1, 2017, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
George C. Schatz, Professor of Chemistry, Northwestern University

Recently there has been growing interest in the coupling of self-assembly chemistry with the formation of silver and gold nanoparticles, to create a new generation of materials of interest for sensing and optical devices. This talk describes the self more  »



“DNA Programmed Dynamical Systems Outside Cells: from Gene Circuits to Self-Assembly”

Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
Vincent Noireaux, Associate Professor, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Minnesota

Abstract: The analysis and characterization of complex dynamical interactions involved in gene regulation is a major theme in post-genomic research. Researchers from many different backgrounds have developed novel approaches to dissect gene network a more  »


“Hidden Interactions in Resource-limited Genetic Circuits”

Tuesday, January 24, 2017, 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
Domitilla Del Vecchio, Associate Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Abstract: Synthetic genetic circuits are “powered” by cellular resources, which are found in limited amounts. The sharing of these resources by different circuit components often hampers the functionality of circuits. In this talk, I will illustrate more  »