Primary Recipient Awards
This workshop was held Oct 2-4, 2010.
We believe there is a critical knowledge gap in biology that needs to be addressed: cytoplasmic nanospaces biophysics. Nanospaces are intracellular domains found in all eukaryotes and prokaryotes where selected molecules and ions are positioned so as to convert random thermal motion into directed flow to enable reactions that would otherwise be thermodynamically unfavourable. They vary from a few to a few hundred nanometers in size and can be both mobile and transitory. They're usually situated between apposing membranes, but are contiguous with the cytosol, which differentiates them from membrane delimited organelles. Some examples of critical cellular processes occurring in nanospaces are excitation-contraction coupling in muscles, cell division, proliferation, intracellular trafficking, the stabilization and control of multiprotein complexes such as cellulose synthases, focal adhesion turnover in cell migration, calcium homeostasis and intracellular signaling. While the traditional deterministic view of these processes is inaccurate, it dominates hypothesis generation in the research community as well as both graduate and undergraduate education.
Our goal is to develop appropriate probabilistic models that can be quantitatively analysed to guide future research into both healthy and diseased states, and to provide more accurate visualization tools necessary for research and education.