Understanding the Effects of Confinement on the Statistics of Biomolecules

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 | 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Add to Calendar

The Center for Theoretical Biological Physics PRESENTS: Seminar Speaker Dr. Greg Morrison, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, 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 powerful new tools in single molecule manipulation and gene sequencing through molecular confinement as well. In this talk, I discuss theoretical approaches for determining the behavior of confined polymers in a variety of biologically relevant geometries. I describe a mean field approach to determine the properties of stiff polymers confined to cylinders and slits, and discuss the effect of an externally applied tension or static electric field on confined systems. These external fields can alter scaling laws and introduce important new length scales into the system, relevant for histone unbinding and single-molecule analysis of DNA.

Bio: Greg Morrison is an assistant professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Houston. He did postdoctoral work at Harvard University, and was previously an assistant professor at the IMT Institute for Advanced Studies in Lucca, Italy. His work focuses on the theoretical modeling of biophysical systems using concepts from polymer physics and complex networks. His group is currently applying theoretical models to better understand the conformations of DNA under confinement, the dynamics of bundles of stiff macromolecules, and the intermediate states accessible of generic polymer models with structured interactions along the backbone.


BioScience Research Collaborative, 1060 A/B

6500 Main Street


Lisa Bennett