PSU Mark
Eberly College of Science Mathematics Department

Meeting Details

For more information about this meeting, contact Hope Shaffer, Chun Liu.

Title:Mathematics of Ions in Channels and Solutions
Seminar:CCMA Luncheon Seminar
Speaker:Bob Eisenberg, Rush University Medical Center (Host: J Xu)
Proteins called ionic channels are the ultimate multiscale device, the ‘nanovalves of life’ controlling most biological functions. A handful of atoms control biological function on the macroscale, so analysis must link atomic scales of distance 10-10 m and time 10-15 sec with biological scales >10-3 m and >10-4 sec. Ion channels have a role in biology like the channels of field effect transistors in computers: both are valves for electricity controlling nearly everything. Ion channels are proteins with a hole down their middle that catalyze the movement of sodium, potassium, calcium and chloride ions across the otherwise impermeable membranes that define cells. Once a channel opens, it has a single structure on the biological time scale slower than say seconds. The ions present around every cell and molecule in biology are hard spheres and so the calculation of how hard spheres go through a channel of one structure is a central problem in a wide range of biology. Literally thousands of biologists study the properties of channels in experiments every day. My collaborators and I have shown how the relevant equations can be derived (almost) from stochastic differential equations, and how they can be solved in direct, variational, and inverse problems using models that describe a wide range of biological situations with only a handful of parameters that do not change even when concentrations change by a factor of 107. Variational methods hold particular promise as a way to solve problems outstanding for more than a century because they describe interactions of 'everything with everything else’ that characterize ions crowded into channels.

Room Reservation Information

Room Number:MB114
Date:02 / 02 / 2015
Time:12:20pm - 01:30pm