University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Biophysics Seminar

Sunday, October 18th 2015
10:10 am:
Biophysics Seminar in 120 PAN
Speaker: Paul Jardine, Dept. of Diagnostics and Biological Sciences, University of Minnesota
Subject: Role Reversal: Using Biology to Answer Questions in Physics

The broad field of molecular biology originated with the movement of physics into biological systems. With tremendous success, physicists were able to address fundamental questions in biological systems by applying physical methods of analysis. We are attempting to reverse these roles in that we are using a biological system to address complex questions in physics. We study the DNA packaging process in dsDNA viruses. During their assembly, these viruses compact DNA inside a protein shell, or capsid, to near crystalline density. Studying this system allows us to study phenomena not accessible to other experimental systems, including the confinement of charged polymers on the nanometer scale in real time. This work has revealed interesting principles of polymer dynamics, among them the forces that resist DNA confinement, the timescale of relaxation events, and the physical behaviour of molecules as they jam during translocation. I will present a brief overview of this work.

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