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Simon Guest: Biological Structures
I am interested in interesting structural mechanics that is associated with biological structures at many different scales, from nano-metre scale virus structures, to macroscopic folding leaves. I have done some work on a number of different scales:
Expansion of viruses
Many viruses consist of an outer protein coat (the virion)
containing a DNA or RNA `payload', where the virion undergoes
reversible structural changes that allow switchable access to the
interior by the opening of interstices through expansion. These
changes may be driven, for example, by variations in pH of the
biological medium. We have looked at mechanical models
that helps to explain the expansion of the virion in terms of
classical principles of structural mechanics.
- The shape of proteins
I have done some initial work on the kinematics of protein structures, and in particular the freedom of shape of the alpha-helix, one of the basic protein structures.
- The cytoskeleton
The cytoskeleton is the protein scaffolding that gives cells their mechanical properties. This scaffolding has clear links with my work on
lattice structures. Work is continuing.
Much can be gained through looking to nature to inspire new folding schemes for deployable structures.
Other biology related work in the Department.
Outline of a recent workshop that I attended on 'Modeling Protein Flexibility and Motions'. The associated
web comptes rendus is a wonderful resource.
Last updated on the 28th of September, 2004
S.D. Guest -