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Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) revolutionized the classical structure-function paradigm. They can function without necessarily folding into an ordered three-dimensional structure and stay unfolded in physiological conditions. However, recent discoveries have shown that IDPs can also form highly organized functional liquid droplets and membraneless organelles. In addition, growing evidence suggests a connection between these liquid droplets and pathological solid aggregates. How can we understand such organized assembly composed of disordered conformations?
In this session Wenwei Zheng, assistant professor of chemistry in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts at ASU's Polytechnic campus, will present recent research progress on understanding the structure and dynamics of IDPs using a homopolymers model. Such simple models are found to be surprisingly accurate to describe both the single-molecule properties and macroscopic phase behaviors of IDPs. This suggests the importance that randomness plays in the structure and function of IDPs.
This session will be held Wed., April 4, at 3 p.m., in Cooley Ballroom B, Student Union, ASU Polytechnic campus.
About Wenwei Zheng
Wenwei Zheng joined ASU as an assistant professor in fall 2017. Trained in physics and computer science as an undergraduate, he obtained a doctorate in chemistry at Rice University, focusing on developing machine learning methods for molecular simulations. Zheng got into the field of intrinsically disordered proteins in 2014, when he started as a postdoctoral researcher at the National Institutes of Health. His current research mainly focuses on developing computational methods to understand the functional or pathological behaviors of intrinsically disordered proteins, including liquid-liquid phase separation to form membraneless organelles and liquid-solid phase separation to form fibril aggregates.