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Application of CryoEM to soft molecular assemblies

December 05, 2016 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM AU Auditorium, GICT Building Lectures Series

Prof. Dganit Danino, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, delivered a lecture on Application of CryoEM to soft molecular assemblies. According to Prof. Danino, understanding the structure and structure-property-function relations are key for the development of new functional materials. Structural analysis of multiscale soft systems may, however, be limited due to the ‘invisible’ complexity of the structures. Cryo-electron microscopy (CryoEM) techniques which comprises of cryo-TEM and cryo-SEM are non-invasive methods that enable direct detection of soft suprastructures in solution at their hydrated state, at multiple length scales, and at high resolution. Additionally, the analysis is done directly, i.e., without the need for a pre-determined model or post-imaging analysis. Cryo-TEM, for example, is highly effective for resolving the coexistence of multiple nanostructures and short-lived intermediates, thus providing particle-specific unique data that cannot be obtained from techniques such as scattering or rheology that probe bulk properties. Cryo-SEM covers a wide scale of structures and can readily be applied to highly viscous systems. Combined with another CryoEM method, Cryo-Tomography, one can resolve the detailed spatial organisation in 3 dimensions. The talk focused on characterization of soft molecular systems by CryoEM techniques and emphasized on analysis of micellar systems and 1-dimensional structures, with examples from her recent works with surfactants, lipids, peptides and proteins. 

About the Speaker:
Prof. Dganit Danino is currently working as a Professor in the Department of Biotechnology and Food Engineering Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. She obtained her B.Sc, M.Sc. and D.Sc. in Chemical Engineering, from Technion, Israel. She also worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Research Associate in the Chemical Engineering Department, Technion. Prof. Dganit was visiting scientist in National Institute of Health (NIH), USA and Lund University, Sweden. She was visiting Professor in School of Engineering and Applied Sciences of Harvard University, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering in MIT, and Technische Universitat Berlin, Germany. Her research interest includes Application and development of cryo-EM techniques; Soft matter self-assembly: mechanism, nanostructure, dynamics and properties; Development and characterization of delivery vehicles, and drug design; Structure-function of large GTPases, and membrane-shaping proteins; Biological and bioinspired filaments, ribbons and nanotubes. Prof. Dganit has published more than 100 high quality research papers and has more than 5000 citations.