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Knobler Lecture: Vinothan Manoharan


February 27, 2023 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Mani L. Bhaumik Centennial Collaboratory
607 Charles E. Young Dr., East
Los Angeles, CA 90095 United States
Speaker Vinothan Manoharan


Prof Manoharan Knobler Lecture Flyer

Title: The Self-Assembly of Simple RNA Viruses

Abstract: Self-assembly is the process by which molecules or particles spontaneously form ordered structures, driven by interactions and thermal fluctuations. The term “self-assembly” was originally coined to describe the formation of simple RNA viruses, which consist of RNA and coat proteins that form an icosahedral shell (called a capsid) that protects the RNA. Some of these viruses can be assembled in vitro, in the absence of any host cell factors. This result suggests that we can understand RNA virus self-assembly from the perspective of statistical mechanics. The central question is how a random process like self-assembly can lead to a high yield of well-formed viruses. I will discuss some potential answers to that question based on experiments that measure the kinetics of assembly of individual viruses — experiments that began as a result of a collaboration with UCLA.

Vinothan Manoharan


Department of Physics

Harvard University