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Selective transport through bio & bio-mimetic nano-channels: math modeling meets experiments (3988)

January 20, 2013 – January 25, 2013

Location: Banff Int'l Research Station (BIRS) - Banff, Alberta, Canada

Photo Credits: Milwakee School of Engineering - PALM Workshop, nghoussoub.com, Jackson’s Journey Photography, Elena Kiseleva

Organizers:  Anton Zilman, University of Toronto
                  Shivagaram “Gnana” Gnanakaran, Los Alamos National Laboratory
                  Michael Elbaum, Weizmann Institute of Science
                  Tijana Jovanovic-Talisman, University of Hawaii, Manoa

This workshop will be devoted to the quantitative understanding of transport through the Nucular Pore Complex (NPC) and related biological and artificial nano-channels, with the goal of elucidating the basic biophysical principles and leveraging these principles towards applications in bio-nano-technology. The focus on a particular, well-characterized system such as the NPC would allow for the development of the concepts and applications of mathematical tools in a systematic manner, continuously checked by the experimental data. With progress in both experiments and theory, clear communication and collaborative efforts of scientist across fields will certainly lead to new advancements in understanding transport through biological and artificial devices. Such collaborations would also likely raise new mathematical problems that require novel techniques for their solution.

Specific topics of focus of the current workshop, which are rapidly arising both in the context of the NPC per and in the context of nano-technological applications will be:

1. In depth discussion of the physics of the behavior of confined flexible filaments on the nano-scale, such as the unfolded proteins lining the passageway of the NPC, which remains central for the understanding the gating of the NPC and related nano-channels. This topic reflects the rapid increase of the theoretical and coarse-grained modeling works on the subject.

2. Multi-scale connection of such physical modeling to more molecular picture of the behavior of the natively unfolded, unstructured proteins in other biological contexts.

3. Discussion of general principles of design and function of selective nano-channels arising from the quantitative modeling of experiments in both biological and nano-technological contexts, with a particular emphasis on recent artificial nano-devices that mimic the NPC.

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