Workshop on Protein Folding Pathways

Project: Research project

Project Details


Proteins are among the most incredible molecular machines in living systems. Not only are they accurate, proficient and specific, but they also have the rare ability to acquire new functions and structures to carry out a diverse set of functions, from enzymes to cytoskeleton to membrane channels. When a protein folds into its unique 3-dimensional structure, it starts immediately performing its function that has been evolved through the years. Thus, protein folding is central for the physics of living things. Intellectual Merit Understanding the principles behind protein folding remains one of the greatest challenges in science. The protein folding problem has been studied for three decades, and despite the great progress in recent years, there are still many questions to be answered. Only with the synergy of experimentalists and theoreticians from diverse disciplines will this challenge be answered. Moreover, there are now new computational tools along with new experimental techniques being developed for the studies of in vivo and in vitro protein folding. It is very important to bring together these scientists who are pioneering these quantitative approaches to create a novel collaboration for answering the challenges in protein folding. We are planning to provide such an opportunity by organizing a workshop in Tempe, Arizona, May 9-13, 2010, in which we will bring together a select group of some of the worlds leading scientists in this area. The group we have identified includes scientists who have research interests in protein folding yet with different backgrounds from physics, chemistry, mathematics, and engineering. All have unique expertise in various aspects of protein folding, experimentation, and computational modeling. This workshop will address the dynamic and thermodynamic properties of protein folding and the role of flexibility in protein sequence-structure-function relationship. Simulation and theoretical methods will be discussed in application to protein stability, folding, specific pathways and enzymatic activity. The combination of leading experts in theory and experiment is aimed to promote a discussion of how to integrate the recent advances in theoretical techniques with experiment. Each talk will be followed by extensive discussions. We have invited 20 world class scientists, and we are aiming to have a group of 50 people which will increase the interactive participation and discussions. Broader Impacts The list of participants provided in this proposal represents a truly impressive and wide-ranging cast of established leaders in the field, plus some younger people who are starting to make an impact. This workshop has the potential to become a landmark meeting to create new collaborations between experimentalists and theoreticians in designing novel approaches to answer the challenges of protein folding. The invited participants have expressed great enthusiasm in the aims of the meeting. The meeting is designed to consist of a set of highly focused and intimate sessions. We will open the meeting to local attendees from Arizona State University and the University of Arizona, including graduate students and postdocs and some high school science teachers. To ensure broader impact, especially in terms of education for graduate students and postdocs in the field, we will maintain a website on which each speakers talk and relevant recent publications will be posted.l
Effective start/end date6/1/105/31/11


  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $16,000.00

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