All seminars will be held in the MBI Lecture Hall - Jennings Hall, Room 355 - unless otherwise noted.
Sensory perceptions are the result of many specialized biochemical processes, organized across many disparate physical scales. In the first part of the talk, I will summarize recent work pertaining to Visual Transduction in rod and cone photoreceptors. These findings are made possible through a finite-element implemented, mathematically homogenized diffusion model at the cellular (micron) scale which incorporates the photoreceptors' 3D morphology. This work is joint with Dr. G. Caruso at CNR, Dr. V. Gurevich in Vanderbilt Pharmacology, and Dr. E DiBenedetto in Vanderbilt Mathematics. In the second part of the talk, I will transition to Hearing Transduction and consider a key cadherin protein-complex, the tip link, which conveys tension to open and close mechanically gated ion channels for signalling (molecular, nm scale). Steered Molecular Dynamics (SMD) simulations are used to investigate the tip link's rigidity under in vivo calcium concentrations. Current efforts are to interface SMD derived force profiles with a novel, Principal of Virtual Work based continuum model for simulating the tip link under 60,000+ in vivo calcium conditions. This work is joint with the Sotomayor Lab in The Ohio State University Biochemistry Department.