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Research Zernike (ZIAM) News

Biophysics of polyglutamine aggregation: how does it start and how does it end?

01 March 2022

On July 6th 2022 we will organize an online networking event sponsored by the Biophysical Society (BPS), on the topic of the biophysics of polyglutamine aggregation. This event is part of the BPS networking event series, and will take place over several hours (3 p.m. - 6 p.m. CET) with participants from across the globe, with a key role for junior scientists.

Topic of the event:

Recent discoveries in the realm of polyglutamine (polyQ) protein aggregation research provide an example of how biophysics is involved in protein misfolding diseases like Huntington’s disease (HD). In the current networking event we bring together scientists from different continents, who look at polyQ from different biophysical and biological perspectives. We will explore ways to connect molecular biophysics (in vitro and in silico) to biological and cellular contexts, in order to help understand, and even treat, this kind of protein misfolding disease.

The event offers a platform for networking and discussion of the following questions:

  • How can we integrate experimental and computational biophysics to understand polyQ protein aggregation and nucleation?
  • What (if any) structural features are carried from the nucleation event to the mature protein aggregates?
  • How do we understand and study these fundamentally biophysical processes in a biological context?

Invited and confirmed speakers:

  • Tessa Sinnige (Assistant Professor; Utrecht Univ., Netherlands)
  • Randal Halfmann (Associate Professor, Stowers Institute, Kansas, USA)
  • Ashwani Thakur (Assistant Professor, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India)


This will be an online Zoom-based event, involving three invited keynote speakers followed by parallel breakout sessions. The three parallel breakout sessions will facilitate discussion and exchange of ideas, and these will feature junior scientists (PhD, postdoc) from the field. In each session we will also have invited junior speakers. Each of the main speakers will be involved in one of the breakout sessions, guiding the discussion.

We end the meeting with a final joint session in which we discuss the breakout group conclusions as a whole meeting, touching upon areas of agreement and disagreement, and look for opportunities to bring different perspectives into a unified view of the biophysics of polyQ aggregation.


Patrick van der Wel (
Markus Miettinen (

More information will follow!

Questions? Please contact the organizers as indicated above.

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Last modified:21 March 2022 10.42 a.m.

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