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Image by J.H. Maddocks, R.S. Manning, and R.C. Paffenroth

Biological macromolecules function at highly disparate scales in both space and time. These differences in scale imply that mathematical and numerical descriptions must be developed to focus on the particular scale of the phenomenon of interest. For example, one experimental motif for studying the sequence dependent mechanical properties of DNA is mini-circles which are formed from a closed loop of 100--200 base-pairs of the double helix. Numerical simulation of such systems at full atomistic resolution is still beyond current day capabilities, but as this image portrays, an approximate, effective model based on a highly twisted elastic ribbon can be developed to capture sequence-dependent effects.
Image by J.H. Maddocks, R.S. Manning, and R.C. Paffenroth. Click for higher resolution.