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Research Zernike (ZIAM) News Seminars

dr. Wouter Roos : Physics of life at the sub - cellular level

When:We 04-02-2015 13:30 - 14:30


Cellular life harbours a fascinating variety of complex processes such as cytoskeletal dynamics, motor protein activity, membrane vesicle formation, pathogen reproduction, protein transport, etc. We are still at the beginning of our understanding of how the cell manages all these processes and with the advent of new physics tools such as advanced light microscopy approaches, force spectroscopy methods and scanning probe techniques we are now able to make big steps forward in elucidating the mechanisms behind (supra)-molecular cellular processes. In this presentation I will show how in my lab we are studying the physics of this fascinating sub-cellular dynamics. I will illustrate this with examples on motor protein-cytoskeleton interactions, protein clustering effects and transport mechanisms of membrane autotransporter proteins. Furthermore, I will discuss the mechanics and material properties of viruses and cellular protein nanocages by revealing the existence of pre-stress in nanoshells, by scrutinizing the interactions between viral RNA and its capsid and by showing how viral infectivity is in essence a mechanical process. Finally, I will show our work on extracellular vesicle dynamics, currently a hot topic in nanomedicine as these particles are expected to have great potential in diagnosis and treatment.