Selective transport through biological and bio-mimetic nano-channels: mathematical modeling meets experiments (13w5135)


Michael Elbaum (Weizmann Institute of Science)

(Los Alamos National Laboratory)

(University of Hawaii at Manoa)

(University of Toronto)


The Banff International Research Station will host the "Selective transport through biological and bio-mimetic nano-channels: mathematical modeling meets experiments" workshop from January 20th to January 25th, 2013.

Living cells must constantly transport various molecules into and out of the cell, as well as between
compartments inside the cell. This transport is necessary for ‘housekeeping’ operations (to keep the
cell alive) as well as for transmitting signals from the environment to coordinate cell response. It must
be precise and fast and is carried by various molecular transporters in the cell. Understanding how
these transporters work is not only a basic scientific question but can also pave way for important
applications, such as better disease treatment and creation of artificial devices that mimic the
biological ones, for various applications.
These transporters are little ‘molecular machines’ that function on a nano-scale, in the very
dense and noisy environment of the cell. The mechanisms of their function are quite different from what
we are accustomed in the everyday experience. Understanding the principles of action of such biological
devices requires a combination of precise experimentation and mathematical modeling. Mathematical
modeling is crucial, because it serves as a powerful 'microscope' that allows to extract important
principles from experimental data. The purpose of the workshop is to bring together experimentalists and
theorists in order with the goal of understanding the basic principles of function of such biological

The Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS) is a collaborative Canada-US-Mexico venture that provides an environment for creative interaction as well as the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and methods within the Mathematical Sciences, with related disciplines and with industry. The research station is located at The Banff Centre in Alberta and is supported by Canada's Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), Alberta's Advanced Education and Technology, and Mexico's Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT).