April 15: Bioengineering workshop

Posted on Friday, April 12, 2013

Two days of workshops will include researchers from McGill, Columbia, Princeton, École Polytechnique, Harvard and University of Pennsylvania who will present different perspectives on the generation of force and motion at the nanoscale, both in biological and hybrid biosystems.

Protein molecular motors, both linear such as myosin and kinesin, and rotary, such as those involved in flagellum-driven bacterial motion, are natural nano-machines that convert biochemical energy into mechanical work, which is central to cellular motion, muscle contraction, cell division and a multitude of other critical biological processes. Unlike artificial motors, these natural machines operate with very high energy yield because the conversion from chemical energy to mechanical energy is done directly, rather than via an intermediary state as in e.g., heat for thermal engines. Separately, and together with the linear protein molecular motors, cytoskeleton proteins, such as actin filaments and microtubules, act as precise “rails” directing the motion of motors; and they also act as dynamic mechanical scaffolds for the cells.

The exceptional efficiency of molecular motors, together with their small scale and precise transport, has prompted an increasing number of studies focused on their integration in hybrid micro- and nanodevices. However, and despite tremendous progress in the development of artificial devices that integrate motile proteins, much needs to be learnt from Nature’s designs. The present workshop aims to bring together scientists from fields as diverse as molecular and cell biology; and mechanical and chemical engineering, to report on the most recent advances in motility and force generation at the nanoscale, both in numerous biological systems, as well as in hybrid devices for diagnostics, drug discovery and biocomputation.

April 15-16; Frank Dawson Adams Building, room 5; open to all; no registration needed but come early as seating is limited (capacity is 50 people). For more information and the full schedule click here.

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