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. 

Baptiste Blanc, Fraden Lab Postdoc, Organizer MRSEC Seminars

Thursday, November 16, 2017
MRSEC Seminar: Super-resolution imaging of transcription in living mammalian cells
Ibrahim Cissé, MIT
Abstract: Protein clustering is a hallmark of genome regulation in mammalian cells. However, the dynamic molecular processes involved make it difficult to correlate clustering with functional consequences in vivo. We developed a live-cell super-resolution approach to uncover the correlation between mRNA synthesis and the dynamics of RNA Polymerase II (Pol II) clusters at a gene locus. For endogenous β-actin genes in mouse embryonic fibroblasts, we observe that short-lived (~8 s) Pol II clusters correlate with basal mRNA output. During serum stimulation, a stereotyped increase in Pol II cluster lifetime correlates with a proportionate increase in the number of mRNAs synthesized. Our findings suggest that transient clustering of Pol II may constitute a re-transcriptional regulatory event that predictably modulates nascent mRNA output.
Abelson 229

Thursday, December 7, 2017
MRSEC Seminar: Quantifying the Energy Landscapes of Ribosome Function
Paul Whitford, Northeastern University
Abstract: The breadth of information available on ribosome structure and dynamics makes it the ideal system for systematically investigating the physical-chemical properties that enable large-scale biological processes. Through the use of simplified models (40,000-150,000 atoms) and explicit-solvent simulations, we are identifying the balance between structural flexibility and energetics during large-scale (20-100Å) conformational transitions. In recent applications of these models, we have identified specific structural features that give rise to free-energy barriers during tRNA accommodation, hybrid-state formation and translocation. These simulations also allow us to identify kinetically relevant reaction coordinates, which provides a quantitative bridge between experimental kinetics, single-molecule measurements, structural/mutational data and theoretical calculations. With this knowledge, it is now possible to interpret findings from these unique approaches within a consistent framework, which is allowing a unified description of the dynamics to emerge.
Abelson 229

Thursday, December 14, 2017
MRSEC Seminar: TBA
Anastasios Matzavinos, Brown University
Abelson 229

 See past events.