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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Where Species Begin: Observations about Cell Membranes and What We Can Do About It

8th March 2007, 17:30 to 18:30, The Ustinov Room, Van Mildert College

Professor Robert A. Walker, IAS Fellow from the University of Maryland, will be giving his inaugural public lecture at Van Mildert College. This is the third in a series of six public lectures given by IAS Fellows.

A common denominator to all living species is the cell membrane. Cell membranes are designed to keep the tools necessary for life processes contained and separated from harmful threats that can appear in local surroundings. Despite the wide variety in cell types - liver, skin, neural, etc. - most cell membranes share remarkably similar composition, not only within a single organism but across species in general. A functioning cell membrane regulates the passage of nutrients and waste into and out of cells. When membrane structure changes, so too does cell function. Changes in membrane structure have been tied directly to diseases as diverse as Alzheimer's and diabetes. This talk will discuss the role of membranes, explore what we know about membrane structure and function, and identify salient questions related to the molecular organization found within membranes. Highlighted will be strategies intended to answer these questions so that we may develop a more comprehensive, predictive understanding of these complex biological systems.


Contact for more information about this event.