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Peter Wolynes (Rice University), Applied Mathematics Colloquium
February 6, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Title: Energy Landscape Theory: From Folding Proteins to Folding Chromosomes
Abstract: The statistical mechanics of energy landscapes has resolved the paradoxes of how information-bearing matter can assemble itself spontaneously. I will explain how our current understanding of protein folding landscapes not only leads to successful schemes for predicting protein structure from sequence but also has given quantitative insight into how folding and function shape molecular evolution. While protein folding is, in the main, thermodynamically controlled and not kinetically limited, longer structures in the cell can assemble in a kinetically controlled, nonequilibrium fashion. Nevertheless, I will show how energy landscape theory provides tools for extracting from low resolution experimental structural methods and kinetic information about the structure and cooperative dynamics of chromosomes.