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CeNS Colloquium

Place: Kleiner Physik-Hörsaal, Geschwister-Scholl-Platz
Date: 29.05.09, Time: 15:30 h

Self assembly and evolution: from Viruses to DNA nanostructures

Dr. Ard Louis
The Rudolf Peierls Centre, Oxford


The remarkable ability of biological matter to robustly self-assemble into well defined composite objects excites the imagination, suggesting that these processes could perhaps be emulated through the judicious design of synthetic building blocks. We employ computer simulations to design particles that reversibly self-assemble into well defined three dimensional composite objects. Examples include DNA nano-structures, virus capsids, and monodisperse complexes made of patchy particles (colloids).

The dynamics of assembly can be subtle, including mechanisms such as step by step growth as well as indirect pathways through disordered intermediates. We also investigate the evolutionary dynamics of the self-assembly of quaternary structure in proteins and show how this can explain observed trends extracted from the protein database.