Third Coast Workshop on Biological Cryo-EM announced for March 3, 2017

March 3, 2017 • 9:00am – 6:00pm
Saieh Hall, University of Chicago

In the past few years, a revolution in cryo electron microscopy has taken structural biology by storm. The recent integration of new developments in electron microscopes, direct electron detection cameras, and advances in image analysis methods are allowing the expansion of high resolution structural molecular biology in new and exciting directions by direct visualization of macromolecules and their complexes. The next decades will be dominated by the study of protein-protein, protein-nucleic acid complexes, molecular machines, and their conformational changes in ways that were impossible before due to their size and/or the need to study them in crystalline form. In addition, developments in many aspects of electron microscopy are providing new tools for the study of biological molecules from the single molecule to the cellular level. The Third Coast Workshop on Biological Cryo-EM will address key developments in this fast advancing field and will provide scientists from different disciplines with an opportunity to discuss the state of the field and exchange views from both experimental and computational perspectives.

Program, registration, and poster at the website:

In memory: Klaus Schulten

Klaus Schulten, professor of physics and Beckman Institute faculty member for nearly 25 years, has died after an illness. Schulten, who led the Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group, was a leader in the field of biophysics, conducting seminal work in the area of molecular dynamics simulations, illuminating biological processes and structures in ways that weren’t possible before. His research focused on the structure and function of supramolecular systems in the living cell, and on the development of non-equilibrium statistical mechanical descriptions and efficient computing tools for structural biology. Schulten received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1974. At Illinois, he was Swanlund Professor of Physics and was affiliated with the Department of Chemistry as well as with the Center for Biophysics and Computational Biology; he was Director of the Biomedical Technology Research Center for Macromolecular Modeling and Bioinformatics as well as Co-Director of the Center for the Physics of Living Cells.

A memorial service and reception was held November 7. The Beckman Institute will host an honorary symposium in 2017.

Benoît Roux, PI of the MPSDC Computational Modeling Core of which Schulten was an active contributor, shares the following words:

Understanding how biological macromolecular systems (proteins, nucleic acids, membranes) function in terms of their atomic structure represents an outstanding challenge for computational chemists and biophysicists. In this regards, the groundbreaking achievements of Klaus Schulten in Biophysics have opened the door to an unprecedented understanding of biological macromolecular machines. Thanks to the pioneering work of Klaus Schulten, models rigorously anchored in physical laws are now an intrinsic part of life sciences. Because of his intellectual leadership, the complexity of biological systems that can be simulated goes well beyond anything one would have dreamed just a few years ago. By his outstanding contributions, Klaus Schulten has changed the paradigm of computational science and molecular dynamics simulations of complex molecular systems. His tragic loss will long resonate throughout our community.

But Klaus was more than a great scientist, for many of us he was also a close friend. He was great company, and a very collegial and generous member of our community. We will cherish all these memories with him forever.

Symposium in Honour of Benoît Roux at the 2016 Canadian Society for Chemistry

The 2016 Canadian Society for Chemistry Meeting will feature a special session in Honour of Professor Benoît Roux. 2016 will mark 25 years since Professor Roux began his independent scientific career in Canada. The session and accompanying computational biophysics session will feature many leading computational biophysicists, including many of Benoit’s former students and postdoctoral fellows.

MPSDC team member Wonpil Im will also be participating in the symposium.

Location: The conference will be held in beautiful Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (YHZ)

For more information, visit this page.

NAMD Developer Workshop on May 26-27 in Chicago, IL

We are pleased to invite you to the first edition of the NAMD developer workshop jointly organized by the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and the University of Chicago, and to be held on the campus of the University of Chicago.

This workshop is intended to gather the community of NAMD developers for fruitful exchange on current and future developments of the program. It will consist of short presentations aimed at covering practical coding aspects, ongoing developments, architecture specificities, implementations of novel algorithms, as well as broader topics, notably future directions of the program and the parallel programming environment charm++ it uses.

This workshop is not intended for scientific presentations about applications, although illustrative applications of on-going code developments would be welcome.

The workshop will be held at the Gordon Center for Integrative Science on the University of Chicago campus and is sponsored by:

National Institute of General Medical Sciences
NIH Center for Macromolecular Modeling and Bioinformatics (NIH 9P41GM104601)
NIH Hands-on Workshops on Computational Biophysics (NIH 1R25GM103771-01)
The Membrane Protein Structural Dynamics Consortium (NIH grant NIGMS U54-GM087519)

For more information and registration, visit this page.

Active MPSDC participation in the Biophysical Society 60th Annual Meeting in 2016

MPSDC Awards: Francisco Bezanilla, Past President presenting an award to Robert Nakamoto.
(Click to enlarge)

The Membrane Protein Structural Dynamics Consortium is always very well represented at the annual Biophysical Society meeting, as can be seen by Klaus Schulten‘s National Lecture in 2015 as well as at the level of participants in a remarkably large number of workshops, symposia, and presentations. This is also reflected in Consortium members being actively involved at the leadership level, including Francisco Bezanilla‘s tenure as Biophysical Society President from 2012 to 2014 and Robert Nakamoto and Olga Boudker‘s service in the current Biophysical Society leadership council.

On August 31, 2015 the Biophysical Society announced that MPSDC Chair Eduardo Perozo was elected as a 2016 Society Fellow. This award honors the Society’s distinguished members who have demonstrated excellence in science, contributed to the expansion of the field of biophysics, and supported the Biophysical Society. The Fellows will be honored at the Awards Ceremony during the Biophysical Society’s 60th Annual Meeting on Monday February 29, 2016 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, California. Perozo was elected for his leadership and fundamental contributions in ion channel biophysics.

At next year’s meeting in Los Angeles, MPSDC members will participate in a number of specialty symposia and workshops organized by the Biophysical society (more information on the nature of these symposia and workshops can be found on the Biophysical Society meeting website here). We would like to highlight the following in particular (though there are and will certainly be more ways in which Consortium members are involved with the meeting):

  • Francisco Bezanilla (University of Chicago) is participating in a symposium on Voltage Sensing and Gating.
  • Olga Boudker (Weill Cornell Medical College) is receiving the Michael and Kate Bárány Award during the meeting’s award symposium. During this session, award recipients are recognized and each give a short talk about the work for which they are being recognized. Congratulations, Olga!
  • Yifan Cheng (University of California, San Francisco) is co-chairing the Cryo-EM Subgroup 2016 Symposium
  • Claudio Grosman(UIUC) is participating in a symposium on Pentameric Ligand-gated Ion Channels: New Insights from Structure and Function.
  • Benoît Roux (University of Chicago) is participating in a workshop about Computational Methods for Ion Permeation and Selectivity
  • Emad Tajkhorshid (UIUC) will once again be chairing the Permeation & Transport Subgroup 2015 Symposium. He chaired the same subgroup last year.

Last year, MPSDC member and one of our keynote speakers at Frontiers in Membrane Protein Structural Dynamics 2014 Klaus Schulten (UIUC) gave the prestigious National Lecture. The National Lecturer is the highest award given each year by the Biophysical Society. Dr. Schulten’s 2015 National Lecture lecture can be viewed in full here.

See also: interviews from the 59th Biophysical Society Meeting with 2015 National Lecturer Klaus Schulten and Harel Weinstein.

See also: interviews from the 58th Biophysical Society Meeting with Francisco Bezanilla, Past President and Robert Nakamoto, Chair of the 2014 BPS Program Committee.

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