Associate Professor, Department of Physics
Tier-II Canada Research Chair, Nonequilibrium Statistical Biophysics
Simon Fraser University
"Design principles of molecular machines: efficient control and functional internal coupling"
Biomolecular machines are central actors in a myriad of major cell-biological processes. Their successful function requires effective energy conversion among diverse mechanical components, and time-reversal symmetry-breaking to achieve directed transport. It seems plausible that evolution has sculpted these machines to effectively transduce free energy in their natural contexts, where stochastic fluctuations are large, nonequilibrium driving forces are strong, and biological imperatives require rapid turnover. But what are the physical limits on such nonequilibrium performance, and what machine designs actually achieve these limits? In this talk, I discuss how to rapidly and efficiently drive such a noisy system from one state to another, and how to moderate the connection strength between its internal components to maximize its output power. These theoretical results find confirmation in experiments and provide nontrivial yet intuitive implications for the design principles of molecular-scale energy transduction.
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