Terasaki Ramps: A Glimpse into the Geometrical Architecture of the Cell

Dr. Greg Huber
Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara
Thursday, October 19, 2017 - 12:00pm
McLennan Physical Laboratories, Room MP606
Invited Speaker Seminar
Biologists have long considered the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to be an exceedingly important and complex intracellular organelle in eukaryotes. It is a membrane structure, part folded sheet, part branching network, that both envelops the nucleus and threads its way outward, all the way to the cell’s periphery. Microscopic images attest to its convoluted geometry, but can the complexity of its architecture be understood in a precise, mathematical way? Recently, refined imaging of the ER has revealed beautiful and subtle geometrical forms - "Terasaki ramps'' - suggestive of Riemann sheets and helical minimal surfaces. What is the physics of these structures, can it speak to their formation, and how do the structural motifs connect to biological function?
Dr. Anton Zilman
BiophysTO Lunchtime Talks