. Life Sciences
The advent of nanotechnologies in recent decades has made it possible to probe and measure biological systems down to the molecular scale. This has given rise to a more physical approach to traditional molecular biology, and, in particular, to attempts to solve the longstanding puzzles of biological building blocks and their behavior. This includes, for instance, the structure of proteins as a result of their folding dynamics, and the performance of molecular machines such as motor proteins.
In this context, the Institute is developing a first important line of research in single-molecule physics in an effort to understand the structural properties of relevant biomolecules through mechanical measurements of single molecules. A second line of research addresses the collective effects of molecular motors, i.e. cooperation among motor proteins to perform complex tasks, including the development of efficient strategies in intracellular transport and collective force generation. The latter is a problem that is directly relevant to medical applications, such as in neurodegenerative diseases.