Physics at Virginia

"CryoEM of Molecular Machines at Atomic Resolution"

Wah Chiu , Baylor College of Medicine

The ability of electron cryo-microscopy (cryoEM) to rapidly and routinely determine the atomic structures for biological complexes has transformed the interface of chemistry and biology. Previously, determining structures at this resolution was only ossible by X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy, which could be slow, difficult, and for many complexes impossible.

Over the last few years the EM database shows a dramatic increase in the number of cryoEM maps at a resolution higher than 4 Å:

Year   # 3D maps
2012        4
2013        7
2014       36
2015     114
2016     167 (as of Oct. 7th)

Dr. Chiu has been a major contributor to this "resolution revolution,” and his presentation is entitled "CryoEM of Molecular Machines at Atomic Resolution.”

Dr. Chiu received his BA in Physics (1969) and PhD in Biophysics (1975) from the University of California, Berkeley. He is the Alvin Romansky Professor of Biochemistry and the Distinguished Service Professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He is a pioneer in methodology development for electron cryo-microscopy. His work has made multiple transformational contributions in developing single particle electron cryo-microscopy as a tool for the structural determination of molecular machines towards atomic resolution.

For three decades, Dr. Chiu has directed an NIH funded 3DEM Resource Center. He has solved many cryoEM structures including viruses, chaperonins, membrane channels, cytoskeleton protein complexes, protein-DNA complexes and RNA complexes in collaboration with many scientists around the world. His 3DEM Resource Center continues to establish high standard testing and characterization protocols for cryoEM instrumentation and to develop new image processing and modeling algorithms for cryoEM structure determination. 

Dr. Chiu is the co-founder of the W.M. Keck Center for Computational Biology and the graduate program in Structural and Computational Biology and Molecular Biophysics in the early 1990s. These cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional programs involve hundreds of faculty from 7 academic institutions in the Greater Houston Area and have trained many eminent scientists fluent in quantitative biomedicine.

Dr. Chiu’s research, collaboration and training efforts have been recognized by his elected membership to the Academia Sinica, Taiwan (2008) and the United States National Academy of Sciences (2012).  Other honors include the Distinguished Science Award from the Microscopy Society of America (2014) and an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Helsinki, Finland (2014).

Dr. Chiu's visit is sponsored and hosted by the
     - UVa Program in Biophysics (Dr. Robert Nakamoto)
     - Department of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics (Drs. Wladek Minor, Zygmunt Derewenda and Mark Yeager)
     -Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics (Drs. Ed Egelman and Anindya Dutta).

Atomic Physics Seminar
Monday, October 17, 2016
4:00 PM
Jordan Hall, Room Conference Center
Note special time.
Note special room.

Special Lecture in Biophysics

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