Natural and Artificial Molecular Machines

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The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016 was awarded jointly to Jean‐Pierre Sauvage, Sir J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard (Ben) L. Feringa for the design and synthesis of molecular machines. They have developed molecules and machines with controllable movements which can perform work when energy is supplied to them. We hope that these tiny molecular machines will most likely revolutionize the development of various new materials and technologies in the twenty first century, in a manner similar to the Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century brought about by their macroscopic counterparts such as steam and internal combustion engines.

In living organisms, nature has produced a fascinating inventory of linear and rotary molecular machines. One set of the remarkable natural linear molecular machines are motor proteins that transport materials such as cargos and vesicles inside cells. Another remarkable natural rotary molecular machine is ATP Synthase that synthesizes ATP using proton gradient as the energy source. Other important examples of natural molecular machines are ribosomes that synthesize proteins, DNA helicase which locally unzips double stranded DNA and RNA polymerase that synthesize messenger RNA using a single-stranded DNA as the template and Na‑K pump that transports ions across the cell membrane. These natural biological molecular machines perform their function with remarkable efficiency and accuracy.

Thus, these fascinating biological machines can serve as guide for scientists to conceptualize, design and fabricate artificial molecular machines. We hope that this conference would provide a common platform for discussion and sharing of ideas to researchers who are working in the areas of natural and artificial molecular machines.

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