Past Event

Chemistry Colloquium, Presented by Prof. Andela Saric, IST Austria & UCL London

April 7, 2022
4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Event time is displayed in your time zone.
Havemeyer 209 & Zoom -

Non-equilibrium molecular assembly: from NON-LIVING to LIVING and back

Presented by Prof. Andela Saric, IST Austria & UCL London


How do lifeless molecules create living organisms? How can such processes fail and lead to diseases? At the intersection of physical chemistry, soft matter physics, and molecular cell biology, our lab studies the physical mechanisms behind self-organization of biomolecules in healthy and diseased states.

In the living cell, molecular self-organization requires non-equilibrium conditions that drive the formation of reversible large-scaled functional structures. These dynamic cycles of molecular assembly and disassembly produce mechanical work needed for cell trafficking, motility, division, and healing.

Today I will present our research on physical modelling of biomolecular self-assembly processes, in healthy and diseased states. I will discuss the example of active elastic filaments (ESCRT-III) that dynamically shift their geometries and mechanical properties to reshape, cut, and divide cells. I will present the comparisons of our simulation results to live cell reshaping processes across evolution, form archaea to eukaryotes. I will then discuss our work on modelling pathological protein aggregation (amyloid), which occurs irreversibly and without energy consumption, and leads to a range of neurodegenerative disorders. I will finish with our recent efforts to computationally evolve assemblies for desired functions.


Hosted by Angelo Cacciuto

Organic Molecule

Contact Information

(212) 854-2202