The 2016 Nobel Prize in chemistry goes to three scientists that created the first human-made molecular machines!
Recognition of the potential molecular machines have for the future technology and research is an important milestone. It will provide support to the research filed with new engineered molecular machines to come.
Molecular machines are widespread in nature: most of the critical processes in the living organisms are facilitated by biological molecular machines our understanding of which is still limited. I believe that it is the combination of our ability in making more and more complex molecular machines on one hand and deeper understanding of the complexity of the biological molecular machines on the other will eventually lead to development of the true nanorobots capable of performing sophisticated and controlled processes on molecular scale.
One day hypothetical Maxwell daemon will become a reality in the service to a humankind.
A PhD position is available for a physicists/engineer to work in the field of biological cryogenic electron microscopy. See here for details.
An essay of Isaac Asimov is published in MIT technology review titled “How do people get new ideas?“.
A remarkable idea of requirements for creativity is well expressed by the following paragraph:
“Probably more inhibiting than anything else is a feeling of responsibility. The great ideas of the ages have come from people who weren’t paid to have great ideas, but were paid to be teachers or patent clerks or petty officials, or were not paid at all. The great ideas came as side issues.”
SBRC as a member of VIB-VUB consortium receives Hercules grant for Heavy Infrastructure from FWO. With this funding a multiuser cryo-EM facility will be constructed in Brussels and will become operational in 2017!
Ryanodine receptor (RyR) is an ion channel that plays an important role in triggering muscle contraction. We have determined a single particle cryo-EM structures of the channel, which explains calcium release mechanism by this largest known ion channel.
- Image of a 15 μm section of Drosera intermedia leaf from the 1934 paper of L. Marton. (Reproduced with permission of Nature Publishing Group).
We study structure and mechanism of large protein complexes using high-resolution transmission cryogenic electron microscopy.