Physics and Astronomy Colloquium Series

Next Seminar

 Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014

Dr. Eliza Morris
 Harvard University


"The Cytoskeleton and Polymer Model Systems"

The cytoskeleton is a dynamic, active network of biopolymers inside our cells that is capable of constantly remodeling and deforming itself to facilitate a plethora of cellular processes.  To understand this complicated system, biophysicists have successfully employed model systems, in which only a subset of cytoskeletal proteins are present.  These experimental systems have shed light on the physical properties of the components of the cytoskeleton, as well as the complex interplays between them.

In this talk, I will give several examples of significant biophysical experiments that have furthered our understanding of the role of the cytoskeleton in the inner workings of the cell.  Along the way, we will meet the polymers that make up the cytoskeleton and the molecular motors that walk along them and drive cellular contraction and deformation, and will explore the novel techniques employed by researchers to uncover their function.  We will see how even simple model systems begin to capture basic physical properties seen in whole cells, and how they can be used to uncover the underlying physical principles governing the role of the cytoskeleton in living cells.

The Physics and Astronomy Colloquium Series is open to all members of the university. Unless otherwise noted, talks are held on Thursday afternoons at 4:00-5:20 in Mendocino 1015. Schedule is regularly updated as dates, titles, and abstracts are received. Please check back often. To receive updates about the Colloquium Series, please join our Events Mailing List. For past semesters' series, see our archive.

Fall 2014 Semester Schedule

We will update the schedule for the Fall 2014 semester as we get closer to the start of the semester. Have a great summer!

Sept. 11, 2014
Prof. Galen Pickett
CSU Long Beach
"Social Physics at CSU Long Beach"

Sept. 25, 2014
Dr. Eliza Morris
Harvard University
The Cytoskeleton and Polymer Model Systems"

Oct. 2, 2014
Dr. Mikkel Jensen
Harvard University
“Measuring Intracellular Mechanics with Laser Tweezers”

Oct. 16, 2014  
Dr. Michael Foss-Feig
University of Maryland / NIST
"Ultracold Atoms Far From Equilibrium"

Oct. 30, 2014
Prof. Douglas Osheroff
Stanford University

"How Science Changes Our Lives"
Nov. 6, 2014
Dr. Tim Eastman
NASA Goddard
"The Plasma Universe: Gravity Plus Electromagnetism"