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Chemical Society Seminar: Davit Potoyan - Multi-scale computational studies of assembly, regulation, and phase separation in the cell nucleus.


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Functional compartmentalization is a ubiquitous hallmark of life; by segregating bio-molecules and their interactions cells achieve specialization and improved efficiency of many of their functions. In eukaryotic cells, the genetic material is known to be separated from the cytoplasm by the nuclear membrane within the few cubic micrometers of nuclear space. Recent experiments have revealed the ubiquitous presence of compartmentalization occurring at multiple scales in the nucleoplasmic environment. The driving force for these compartmentalization appears to be a juxtaposition of protein-nucleic acids phase-separation and active non-equilibrium processes. Due to the multi-scale and multi-component nature of the problem mechanistic understanding of how the interplay of thermodynamic and kinetic processes shapes the intranuclear order is lacking. During the talk, a selection of recent studies will be presented showcasing how our group uses computer simulations for probing phase-separation phenomena in cell nuclei using multi-scale physics-based models.


Professor Potoyan received his Ph.D. in Chemical Physics at the University of Maryland-College Park in 2012. He spent the next few years training as a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Theoretical Biological Physics at Rice University. He joined Iowa State in 2017 as a Caldwell Assistant Professor of Chemistry and currently holds a courtesy faculty appointment in BBMB as well as in BCB programs. The research field of Professor Potoyan is in computational biophysics broadly defined. His group is using multi-scale computational tools rooted in statistical physics, machine learning, and data analytics to work on a variety of biologically motivated problems. Some of the active areas of research in the group include the condensation of disordered proteins and nucleic acids,  enzyme dynamics, chromatin organization, and epigenetic networks of stem cells.  

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Lena Simine
McGill University
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