IMA Postdoc Seminar (January 8, 2008)

Speaker: Benjamin Stottrup (Augsburg College)

Title: An experimental perspective on miscibility phase transitions and their biological applications

Abstract: A diverse variety of lipids make up the structural component of cell membranes. Lipids provide a two dimensional substrate for membrane proteins and it is now believed that the self-organization of lipids may play an active role in many cellular processes. For biophysicists multi-component lipid monolayers offer a rich model system to explore lateral organization, lipid packing, and miscibility phase transitions. A crucial molecular player in all of these phenomena is the cholesterol molecule. Many comparisons of cholesterol to other sterols have examined which structural features are most important within the cell membrane. An introduction to miscibility lipid biophysics, experimental techniques, results, and implications will be presented.