MSUM Physics & Astronomy Seminar Series Presents:
Yes We Can -Do Theory In Membrane Biophysics

Sylvio May, Associate Professor
Department of Physics, North Dakota State University

Friday, March 8, 2013
3:00-3:50 p.m.
325 Hagen Hall

In this talk I will argue that the biophysics of lipid membranes is a very susceptible field for doing theoretical research (yes, using paper and pencil), even for undergraduate students. The reason is that there are plenty of relevant problems that require creativity and ideas rather than fancy mathematics (ok, some math skills can be useful). Moreover, the field is interdisciplinary and developing fast – not surprisingly because lipid membranes are central to many biological, technological, and pharmaceutical processes. I plan to highlight some “hot” research fields such as the search for alternative resistance-free antibiotics, the design of lipid-based DNA carriers for gene therapy, and the entry of some viruses into cells. In the main part of the talk I will illustrate how “doing theory” actually works. To this end, I will discuss a simple method for calculating electrostatic membrane properties.