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Viral Tug-of-War to Open Distinguished Lecture Series

The first session in the Rossin College Distinguished Lecture Series is set for Monday, December 6, 2005, with Dr. Carlos Bustamante discussing how a tug-of-war match with a virus has improved the biomedical community’s understanding of the mechanics of viral infections.

Dr. Bustamante is a professor in the departments of Physics, Molecular & Cell Biology, and Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, and is an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute of Chevy Chase, Maryland. In his research, he uses optical tweezers to play tug-of-war with viruses in order to measure the forces needed to pack DNA into a viral capsid. In this experiment, the DNA of a single virus acted as the rope between the optical tweezers wielded by Dr. Bustamante and the virus itself. The DNA, packed by a powerful molecular motor, generated forces smaller than a billionth of a Newton. This finding is important because it has also determined the magnitude of the force necessary for a virus to inject its DNA into infected biological cells.

The session is set for 4pm in the Lewis Laboratory, 16 Memorial Drive East. For more information on this event and others around campus, check out www.lehigh.edu/eventscalendar.

Posted on Saturday, October 01, 2005

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