University of Minnesota Duluth
University of Minnesota Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
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Friday, April 21, 2017; 2:00 p.m.; Chem 200

 

Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry Welcomes:

 

Dr. Marjorie Longo, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of California Davis

 

“Mix (and Unmix) it Up with Biomembranes!”

Since the invention of the optical microscope in the 17th century it has been observed that biological membranes compartmentalize the cellular machinery of life.  Then, nearly 100 years ago, it was concluded, through surface science, that the cell membrane is a lipid bilayer.  Since that time, many observations and theories have been put forward to try to explain how complex behavior emerges in living systems from the ubiquitous lipid bilayer structure and its integrated proteins and carbohydrates.  We are now in a period of time when some of the most important paradigms posited in the last several decades for emergence of complex behavior in living cell membranes are being tested and questioned.  These include the membrane (or lipid) raft hypothesis and mechanisms for generation of membrane curvature and compositional asymmetry.  An important outcome of this work may be the design of new micro- and nano-scale self-assembled systems and composites.  This talk will focus upon our work in lipid demixing, crowding-induced mixing, sorting by nanoscale curvature, and bionanocomposites that may contribute toward the design of new biological membrane-inspired technology.