Molecular Motors Conference: Preview

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Artwork: Shovamayee Maharana

Starting Saturday, January 23 the third Molecular Motors, Tracks and Transport (M2T2) international workshop will run for six days in Pondicherry, India.

In mechanical devices, directed movement typically depends upon some type of motor. Living systems also have their motors, used to drive the organism as a whole, or parts of its body or even the movement of structures within the cell itself. Intracellular movements depend upon molecular motors that use sophisticated intramolecular amplification mechanisms to take nanometre steps along protein tracks laid out in linear fashion in the cytoplasm. These motors transport a wide variety of cargo, power cell locomotion, drive cell division and muscle contraction and, when combined in large ensembles, allow organisms to move.

Just as mechanical motors can have their problems, molecular motors in the cell can also suffer from defects that lead to severe diseases or even death. A great deal of research effort is now being devoted to understanding these deadly defects. Researchers are focussing on the basic principles of motor design and function, the ways in which tracks can modulate motor movement, and how all these component processes are integrated to achieve the the required results.

After the first two very well received M2T2 conferences held in 2004 and 2007, there has been an increased national interest in this field. This is reflected in the three-fold increase in investigators in India from 5 in 2007 to 15 in 2009.

The aim of the current workshop is to give an opportunity to budding scientists and interested students to interact with the top national and international leaders in this area. The organizers have especially attempted to facilitate enhanced interactions between students and professors. The workshop has a 2:1 ratio of students to professors and has been designed to have rigorous teaching sessions and discussion groups.

Another unique feature of the proposed workshop is the cross-section of questions that are being investigated. Right from theoretical physicists modeling motor movement, engineers designing microtubules to experimental biologists exploring mitosis and in vivo transport, M2T2 2009 has all the flavors for a variety of palates.

Hence if movement in its tiniest form fascinates you then this is your chance to meet and spend time with kindred spirits in the backdrop of the picturesque beach town Pondicherry. Keep moving!


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