William Jacobs

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Harvard University
Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018 3:15pm
Edward C. Taylor Auditorium, Frick B02
Annabella Selloni
Add to Calendar2018-01-17 15:15:002018-01-17 15:15:00Annabella SelloniEdward C. Taylor Auditorium, Frick B0215YYYY-MM-DD

Optimizing self-assembly kinetics for biomolecules and complex nanostructures

In a heterogeneous system, such as a large biomolecule or complex nanostructure, there is no guarantee that the lowest-free-energy state will form via self-assembly.  Defects and mis-interactions among subunits often arise during a self-assembly reaction, particularly when these systems comprise many distinct components.  As a result, if we wish to assemble complex nanostructures reliably, we need to design robust kinetic pathways to the target structures.  I shall describe a theoretical approach for predicting self-assembly pathways in both engineered nanostructures and natural biomolecules.  First, I shall discuss design principles that can be used to tune the nucleation and growth rates of colloidal nanostructures, with implications for achieving low-defect self-assembly and designing time-dependent experimental protocols.  Then, turning to biological examples of kinetic optimization, I shall discuss how analogous principles have shaped the evolution of variable ribosome translation rates in order to optimize the folding of nascent proteins.