The MRSEC holds seminars presenting research at the frontier of Bioinspired Soft Materials. The seminars are targeted towards grad students and other researchers in the field, although everyone is invited to attend. As the topic is highly interdisciplinary, seminars are designed to be accessible to a wide range of backgrounds. 

MRSEC Seminars Organizers:
John Berezney (Dogic/Fraden Lab Postdoc) and Stefan Paquay (Hagan Lab Postdoc)

Thursday, November 15, 2018
Gonen Ashkenasy, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Title: Emergence of Function in Primitive Chemical Networks Out of Equilibrium
Abstract: Like many other open systems in nature, living organisms are replete with rhythmic and oscillatory behaviour at all levels, to the extent that oscillations have been termed as a defining attribute of life. Recently, we have started to investigate a chief challenge in contemporary Systems Chemistry research, that is, to synthetically construct "bottom-up" peptide-based networks that display bistable behaviour and oscillations. Towards this aim, we utilize replicating coiled coil peptides, which have already served to study emergent phenomena in complex mixtures. In the first part of this talk, we describe the kinetic behaviour of small networks of coupled oscillators, producing various functions such as logic gates, integrators, counters, triggers and detectors. These networks are also utilized to simulate the connectivity and network topology observed for the Kai-proteins circadian clocks, producing rhythms whose constant frequency is independent of the input intake rate and robust towards concentration fluctuations. Then, in the second part, we disclose our experimental results, showing for that the peptide replication process can also lead to bistability in product equilibrium distribution. We believe that these recent studies may help further reveal the underlying principles of complex enzymatic processes in cells and may provide clues into the emergence of biological clocks.
Abelson 229, 4PM

Thursday, November 29, 2018
Philip Pearce, MIT
Title: Physical determinants of bacterial biofilm architectures
Abstract: In many situations bacteria aggregate to form biofilms: dense, surface-associated, three-dimensional structures populated by cells embedded in matrix. Biofilm architectures are sculpted by mechanical processes including cell growth, cell-cell interactions and external forces. Using single-cell live imaging in combination with simulations we characterize the cell-cell interactions that generate Vibrio cholerae biofilm morphologies. Fluid shear is shown to affect biofilm shape through the growth rate and orientation of cells, despite spatial differences in shear stress being balanced by cell-cell adhesion. Our results demonstrate the importance of cell dynamics mediated by adhesion proteins and matrix generation in determining the global architecture of biofilm structures.
Abelson 229, 4PM

Thursday, December 6, 2018
Nabuan Naufer, Northeastern University
Abelson 229, 4PM

Thursday, January 17, 2019
Renato Mirollo, Boston College
Abelson 229, 4PM

Thursday, January 24, 2019
Jonathan Touboul, Brandeis Mathematics
Abelson 229, 4PM

Thursday, February 28, 2019
Timothy Atherton, Tufts University
Abelson 229, 4PM

Thursday, April 11, 2019
Thomas Fai, Brandeis Applied Mathematics
Abelson 229, 4PM

 See past events.