[PAST EVENT] Applied Science Seminar: Ella Mihailescu, Ph.D.

November 9, 2018
3pm - 4pm
Access & Features
  • Open to the public

Speaker: Dr. Ella Mihailescu, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the University of Maryland.

Title: Exploring membranes and membrane proteins with neutrons

Abstract: Despite increasing number of available high resolution structures to aid rational drug design, precision measurement and engineering of membrane proteins (MP) in the context of biologically relevant membranes remains one of the greatest challenges in modern structural biology and bioengineering. In a natural environment, physical influences that shape MP structure and function include interactions of the polypeptide chains with water, each other, the bilayer hydrocarbon core, the bilayer interfaces and cofactors. For instance, ion channels emerge as an important class for drug targeting, for which lipid soluble drugs tend to be more potent inhibitors than water soluble ones. This includes general anesthetics and inhibitors/activator toxins that bind within the bilayer environment. To fully understand how receptor proteins and membrane active small molecules interact within the framework of the membrane, the bilayer has to be restored. Macroscopic observations from cell-based assays and empirical approaches in drug discovery have to be informed by molecular level information obtained with structural techniques. I will be discussing the application of neutron scattering as a unique tool for exploring molecular-level structures and interactions in lipid membranes.