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Minimal models of self-assembly and protein crystallization in vivo

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In biology, there are many remarkable examples of self-assembly, such as virus capsids or complex multi-component assemblies, such as the ribosome or flagellum motor. However, I cannot hope to simulate the assembly of such systems at an atomistic level. Instead, I take a different approach, and explore minimal models that can reversibly assemble into a target structure. These models allow the thermodynamics and dynamics of the assembly process to be studied in detail. The hope is that some of the principles learnt will also be of relevance to the biological cases. Furthermore, the principles of how to design the interactions to achieve self-assembly should also be helpful to nanotechnologists.

If time allows, I will also provide some examples from a rather neglected area of biological self-assembly, namely the crystallization of proteins in the cell.

This talk is part of the Modelling Biology series.

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