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The Cellular Cytoskeleton June 13

June 3, 2010

The blending of theory and experiment in the disciplines of cell biology, biophysics, physics, and engineering has created the promise of unprecedented insights into cellular processes -- and as a result -- advancements in the treatment of disease. The Cellular Cytoskeleton conference at CSU has the aim of stimulating discussions, cooperation, and collaboration among scientists in these various fields.

Sunday, June 13
Clark Building, Room A 203
CSU-Fort Collins
Monday, June 14 - Friday, June 18
Pingree Park Campus

Creating synergy, cooperation

An international conference entitled “The Cellular Cytoskeleton: Common Organizing Principles in Mitosis, Motility and Cell Polarization” is being held at CSU June 13-18 to promote synergy between experimental and theoretical scientists using different approaches to study the cytoskeleton.

"We are excited to have attracted such an outstanding group of leading researchers from around the globe to attend this meeting," says James Bamburg, CSU professor in biochemistry and molecular biology. 

"Support from the Office of International Programs at Colorado State University in kick-starting the conference has allowed us to garner support from the National Science Foundation, CU Boulder, and corporate donors to bring this to fruition."

Studies support cures

The cytoskeleton is the dynamic polymeric network of actin and microtubules inside mammalian cells that is responsible for giving cells rigidity and structure, and also controlling cellular motility and cell division. Misregulation of cytoskeletal dynamics are implicated in the altered cellular processes that occur in many human ailments from Alzheimer’s disease to cancer.

Extraordinary breakthroughs on horizon

Physicists and engineers have fruitfully used theoretical approaches to aid in understanding of cytoskeletal dynamics through the modeling of data accumulated by cell biologists and biophysicists. Recent advances in modeling complex cellular phenomena and continual breakthroughs in cell and molecular biology are poised to give unprecedented insight into the principles of cytoskeletal organization.

Cells contain a nucleus (blue) and a cytoskeleton made of protein subunits that assemble into dynamic microtubules (green) or actin filaments (red). The cytoskeleton is required for directed cell locomotion, chromosome segregation in mitosis, and cell division.

This inter-disciplinary synergy between biology and the physical and engineering sciences and between theory and experiment may very well lead to cytoskeletal dynamics becoming the first important cellular process that can be described by a quantitative predictive model. This would be an enormous development for biological science.

Cross-disciplinary "think-tanks"

The CSU conference hopes to advance this goal by promoting intensive discussions and collaborations between cell biologists, molecular biologists and quantitative theorists.

First day of conference

The first day of the conference is free and open to all members of the CSU community. It will be held in Room A203 Clark, on Sunday, June 13 from noon to 4 p.m.

The speakers are internationally renowned specialists in their fields.

  • Laurent Blanchoin, Ph.D., Institute for Life Sciences Research and Technologies, Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives (CEA), France, will talk about the spatiotemporal organization of actin filaments needed for motility 
  • Jennifer Schwarz, Ph.D., Syracuse University, will present her work on modeling the formation of in vitro filopodia 
  • Douglas Robinson, Ph.D., John Hopkins Medical School, will discuss biomechanical and biochemical feedback loops in cytokinesis 
  • Kerry Bloom, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, will discuss chromatin organization within the mitotic spindle
  • Jennifer DeLuca, Ph.D., Colorado State University, will speak about how microtubules are captured by kinetochores
  • Stephan Grill, Ph.D., of the Max Planck Institute, Germany will talk about forces and flows that are responsible for cellular polarization
  • James R. Bamburg, Ph.D., of CSU will chair the session 

Conference moves to mountain campus, June 14-18

Evening at the Colorado State University's Pingree Park Campus.

The conference will continue in Pingree Park from June 14 to June 18th. More details including the schedule at Pingree Park can be found on the conference website and by contacting the organizers.  

Conference organizers from Colorado State University are:

  • James R. Bamburg, Ph.D., Professor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Ashok Prasad, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Chemical and Biological Engineering

Organizers from other universities include: 

Contact: Claire Lavelle
Phone: (970) 491-5253