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Monday, June 12, 2017
2:30 PM - 4:30 PM
CNLS Conference Room (TA-3, Bldg 1690)

Colloquium

Membranes and bio-polymers in confinement

Martin Muller
Université de Lorraine

The confinement of an elastic object within a smaller volume is a recurrent theme in the biological world. Think, for example, of the packing of DNA in the cellular nucleus or the highly convoluted inner membrane of a mitochondrium. The aim of confinement in these examples is to optimize selected properties of the object in question, information storage in the former and ATP production in the latter. In the first part of my talk I will focus on a fluid membrane confined to a spherical container. This simple system serves as the ``spherical cow'' which will be used to model membrane invaginations in mitochondria. Even though the highly inhomogeneous composition of the membrane in vivo is not taken into account, the theory allows to understand the occurring shapes and sheds some light on their morphogenesis. Confining an elastic biological object in vitro is often necessary to make its material properties accessible in an experiment. In the second part I will present an example where the confinement to the focal plane of a microscope has revealed intrinsic properties of a bio-polymer which have not been known before.

Host: Christoph Junghans