Alexandra ZidovskaAssociate Professor of Physics, Center for Soft Matter Research, New York University
Presidential Lectures are free public colloquia centered on four main themes: Biology, Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science, and Neuroscience and Autism Science. These curated, high-level scientific talks feature leading scientists and mathematicians and are intended to foster discourse and drive discovery among the broader NYC-area research community. We invite those interested in the topic to join us for this weekly lecture series.
The nucleus is the cell’s control center, containing genetic material essential for life. Yet, the physical principles underlying its organization in space and time remain a mystery.
In this talk, Alexandra Zidovska will present work from her group revealing that the biophysical complexity of the nucleus can be organized around three inter-related and interactive facets: heterogeneity, activity and rheology. Most nuclear constituents are sites of active, ATP-dependent processes and are thus inherently dynamic. The genome undergoes constant rearrangement, the nuclear envelope flickers and fluctuates, nucleoli migrate and coalesce, and many of these events are mediated by nucleoplasmic flows and interactions. And yet there is spatiotemporal organization in terms of the hierarchical structure of the genome, its coherently moving regions and membrane-less compartmentalization via phase-separated nucleoplasmic constituents. Moreover, the non-equilibrium or activity-driven nature of the nucleus gives rise to emergent rheology and material properties that impact all cellular processes via the central dogma of molecular biology. New biophysical insights into the cell nucleus can come from appreciating this rich inner life.
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