MCB 5014: Structure & Dynamics of Macromolecular Machines

Instructors: Victoria Robinson, Eric May

With your advisor’s approval, graduate courses may be included in your Honors Final Plan of Study for graduation. They also count toward your Honors participation requirements.

Biological systems are filled with “machines” which perform specific functions and involve the movement of parts of the machine and the conversion of chemical energy in mechanical work. This course will introduce students to macromolecular cellular and viral machines and the experimental and computational techniques used to study these fascinating complexes. While having an understanding of basic biochemistry is important for this course, this course may be of interest to students with a background in the physical sciences or engineering. During the course we examine several types of machines including:

  • Self-assembling nanocontainer and packing machines (Viruses)
  • Protein manufacturing machines (Ribosomes)
  • Small molecule transport/pumping machines (Ion channel and multidrug transporters)

The course sessions will involve lectures, student led discussions and computational labs. The course will conclude by having the students develop a research plan to study a machine of their choosing.