DONALD J. LEO
The relationship between protein structure and protein function is central to understanding the properties of biological systems. Recent advances in the imaging of biological systems at the appropriate spatial and temporal scales have provided an improved understanding of biological functions such as cell signaling and the dynamic processes associated with protein-protein interactions. Advances in imaging techniques—when combined with the ability to directly manipulate proteins using mechanical, optical, and magnetic forces—provide a basis for real-time control of protein conformations for the purpose of directly controlling protein function. This session will explore recent advances in the ability to directly control the affinity and selectivity of proteins using an external stimulus. Methods such as mechanical manipulation, optical and magnetic tweezers, and chemical control of protein structure will be compared in terms of their ability to control protein conformation. Seminal advances in imaging will be discussed, and the ramifications of new techniques on the understanding of biological systems will be explored. A central theme of the session will be how new techniques for imaging, manipulating, and directly controlling biological systems will lead to new methods for engineering biological systems for applications in drug discovery, vaccine development, and new methods for tunable biosensors and bioassays.