Can We Understand the Engineering Principles for Biological Function?

 Milan Mrksich photo

Wednesdays@NICO Seminar, Noon, January 16 2013, Chambers Hall, Lower Level

Prof. Milan Mrksich, Northwestern University

Abstract

The cell is the building block of life—the basic unit that is alive on its own and that assembles into tissues that carry out the functions of organisms.  The cell is, in simple terms, a bag full of molecules that interact with one another to direct growth, crawling, energy production, and a host of other functions.  Much is known about the inventory of the cell—the protein molecules that dance with one another and make the cell alive—yet little is known about the design rules that coordinate the interactions of the proteins to give the cell its functions.  In this talk, Professor Mrksich will discuss recent work that is developing the molecular engineering tools to identify and model the molecular mysteries of the cell and to engineer cells with novel functions.  

Biography

Milan Mrksich is the Henry Wade Rogers Professor at Northwestern University, with appointments in Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry and Cell & Molecular Biology.   He attended the University of Illinois, earning a BS degree in Chemistry, his PhD at Caltech and was an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University before joining the faculty at the University of Chicago as an Assistant Professor in 1996.  Among his many honors are the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (2000), the TR100 Young Innovator Award (2002), ACS Arthur C. Cope Young Scholar Award (2003), and election to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2006).  His research program lies at the intersection of chemistry, materials and biology and emphasizes the design and preparation of materials for applications in chemical biology and bioanalytical science. More information can be found here at Professor Mrksich's website.