Shankar Mukherji from Washington University in St. Louis will be presenting the Saturday Science Lecture "Cellular Self Assembly."
The cell is among the natural world's most intricately structured objects. At the same time, the cell is surprisingly flexible and can readily reorganize itself in response to its constantly changing environment. Perhaps most surprising of all, the cell is ultimately built from relatively unreliable parts that are supplied at random times and in random amounts. Understanding how living systems generate order from the chaos of the microscopic world is among the grand challenges in 21st century physics and biology. While we have far more questions than answers, we will begin to address these issues in the context of how cells build the nano-compartments that they organize themselves into known as organelles. By combining the theoretical tools of statistical physics with experimental data from high precision imaging, we will start to uncover unifying design principles that appear to describe how cells assemble their organelles with the hope that they may apply to living systems more generally.
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