Tertiary shapes from primary sequences in proteins
Proteins are the molecular machinery of life. Each one is a long, floppy macromolecule built from a specific, genetically-encoded sequence of amino acids, and it is the interaction between this sequence and the protein's surrounding environment that determines what shape the macromolecule will tend to adopt. Click here to learn more about how we model the sequence-shape relationship, and what we have learned about the physics behind protein function and disease.
Organization of the cytoplasm across space and time
New tools now enable experimenters to probe the distribution of proteins on the scale of hundreds of nanometers in live cells. A statistical mechanical language is needed to describe the intracellular order that is coming into view. Click here to find out what we're doing to develop this language.
Molecular evolution as physical dynamics
Not all things made of molecules undergo what we would call evolution or natural selection, yet all living, evolving things are made of molecules that obey simple, physical, mechanical laws. What sort of physics gives rise to self-replicating forms capable of evolution? Click here to find out how we've begun to study this question.