Molecular mechanism of hearing highlighted in the first atomic-resolution picture of outer hair cell surface proteins
Our sense of hearing is stimulated by the sound transmitted through the external auditory canal to the middle ear and then to the inner ear. The hair cells in the inner ear are known as the sensory cells of hearing and are capable of mechano-electrical transduction—the mechanism by which cells convert a mechanical stimulus into an electrical signal—and signal amplification, which mechanically amplifies low-level sound entering the ear’s cochlea.
Biophysics and Quantitative Biology student Kevin Cheng has recently been selected to serve on the Graduate College Students Advising on Graduate Education (SAGE) board.
Illinois scientists screening for gene expression fluctuations reveal latency-promoting agents of HIV
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) attacks cells that help the body fight infection, thus making the human body more vulnerable to other infections and diseases. Until this day, HIV remains a global pandemic of large proportions. Upon infection, inactive or latently infected cells capable of reactivating following treatment removal remain the major barrier to curing HIV.
Shriyaa Mittal obtained her doctoral degree in biophysics and quantitative biology from the Center for Biophysics and Quantitative Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in Summer 2020.
Newly discovered glutamate transporter’s elevator-like structure and dual-function mechanism open up a field of possibilities
To maintain normal brain function, the extracellular levels of necessary neurotransmitters, such as glutamate—a major chemical signal responsible for communication between brain cells– have to be kept low to avoid excessive stimulation of receptors and nerve cell damage, a pathological process otherwise referred to as excitotoxicity.
New research uncovering details of SARS-CoV-2 interactions with human cells featured by Biophysical Society
In order to infect cells, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, needs to insert itself into the membrane of human cells. New molecular models show what parts of SARS-CoV-2 are critical for that interaction, revealing new potential drug targets.
Chaoyi Jin graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) with a doctoral degree in biophysics and quantitative biology in August 2019. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Nanjing University, China.
At the time that COVID-19 continues to pose a global health emergency, researchers around the world are working diligently for solutions that would prevent or limit the infection. University of Illinois researchers led the scientific community at more than one front in the development of innovative approaches to fight the pandemic.
The life and outstanding contributions of Christiaan Sybesma, one of the greatest biophysicists of all times and a former faculty member of Biophysics and Botany (now Plant Biology) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, were recently highlighted in an article published in Photosynthesis Research.
Weak interactions between proteins in the cell play a critical role in biological processes. Weak interactions are very common and can add up in the cell, leading to signaling, chaperoning and other important activities. They also generate a spatio-temporal heterogeneous cytoplasm.