Olga Dudko, University of California San Diego

Single-molecule biophysical tools permit measurements of the response of individual biomolecules to external force, revealing details that are typically lost when studied though ensemble methods. I will present an analytical theory of single-molecule force experiments. The theory is based on Kramers picture of the diffusive crossing of a free energy barrier and on a generalization of this picture to many dimensions. The theory is applicable to biological contexts ranging from protein and nucleic acid folding to ligand-receptor interactions.

Otger Campas, Harvard University

Walled cells have the ability to remodel their shape while sustaining an internal turgor pressure that can reach values up to 10 atmospheres. This requires a tight and simultaneous regulation of cell wall assembly and mechanochemistry, but the underlying mechanisms by which this is achieved remain unclear. In this talk I will discuss the interplay between growth and mechanics in shaping a walled cell, in the particularly simple geometry of tip-growing cells, which elongate via the assembly and expansion of cell wall in the apical region of the cell.

Boris Shraiman, Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara

Large populations may contain numerous simultaneously segregating polymorphisms subject to natural selection. In order to understand population genetics in this case, theoretical models must account for interactions between polymorphisms at different genetic loci and in different individuals. The effect of these interactions depends on the effective rate of recombination.

Jonathan Weissman, University of California, San Francisco/Howard Hughes Medical Institute

The ability to sequence genomes has far outstripped approaches for deciphering the information they encode. We have developed a suite of techniques based on ribosome profiling (deep sequencing of ribosome protected fragments) that dramatically expand our ability to follow translation in vivo. I will present recent applications of our ribosome profiling approach including the following: (1) Development of ribosome profiling protocols for a wide variety of eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms.

Eleni Katifori, Rockefeller University

Biology presents many examples of planar distribution and structural networks having dense sets of closed loops. An archetype of this form of network organization is the vasculature of dicotyledonous leaves, which showcases a hierarchically-nested architecture containing closed loops at many different levels. A number of methods have been proposed to measure aspects of the structure of such networks, but a robust metric to quantify their hierarchical organization is still lacking.

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