Physics Colloquium - Building a Cell from the Bottom Up

Event Date: 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 - 4:00pm

Event Location: 

  • Broida 1640


Jennifer Ross

Department of Physics, University of Massachusetts Amherst



Biology utilizes energy to organize itself from the nanoscale to the macroscopic scale. We are specifically interested in how macromolecular complexes of the microtubule cytoskeleton can organize into different specific architectures using associated motor proteins and crosslinkers that are either active (use energy) or passive. We will present new data on a minimal microtubule, motor protein, and anti-parallel crosslinker system that can create cell-like structures similar to those found in mitosis. The system displays a phase diagram of extension and contraction depending on the relative microtubule and crosslinker densities. Similar results are observed in a model of self-propelled rods with preferentially anti-parallel interactions.