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Undergraduate and Graduate Studies

Physics Colloquium: Jing Xu (UC Merced)

March 11, 2016 - 6:30pm

Title: Understanding Molecular Motor Biophysics

What is molecular motor biophysics? Research in my lab focuses on numbers in biology. Our ultimate goal is to describe biological processes using numbers and equations. This task is challenging, because the parameter space for describing biological processes is vast; it is unclear yet how to collapse this vast space into a few key parameters (or, principle components). To begin to address this problem, my lab focuses on a particular type of biological process (molecular motors stepping on biopolymers), to identify its sensitivity to different parameter inputs (such as chemical energy ATP). We have developed several experimental systems that directly mimic the process in living cells, as well as artificial systems that are inspired by biology (“active material”). We also combine our experimental approaches with simulation and theory work to gain quantitative understanding of these processes. I will give an overview of our recent work, ranging from counting motor numbers (modified Poisson statistics), defective biopolymers (modified optical trapping), bilayer-coupled motors (soft-matter approach), and sticky biopolymers (active matter). I will discuss what we have learned thus far, as well as followup projects that we are very excited about.

Prof. Jing Xu received her BS with honor in Physics from Caltech, PhD in Physics from UC Santa Barbara. She carried out her postdoctoral work in Biophysics at UC Irvine, before joining UC Merced as an Assistant Professor in UC Merced. She has been awarded the NASA graduate student fellowship, and the American Heart Postdoctoral fellowship.

Every Friday 10:45-11:45 a.m., COB 267 (except as noted). Tea and cookies will be served from 10:30 - 10:45 a.m. Questions regarding the seminar series should be directed to Prof. Bin Liu


COB 267