"Random walks, DNA elasticity, and the motion of proteins" by Meredith Betterton
March 14, 2011 - 11:00am
A particle undergoing a random walk is a classic physics problem that underlies our understanding of diffusion, the molecular nature of matter, polymer conformations, and the fluctuation-dissipation theorem. In addition to its conceptual importance in physics, a random walk is a surpisingly good model for some biophysical problems. This talk will present several examples, including DNA conformation and protein motion along a biopolymer, that are well described by a biased or unbiased random walk. I will discuss the physical theory and biophysical applications of several problems from our recent research: finite-length effects in DNA elasticity, the coupling of a biased walker with a fluctuating wall and collective effects that occur when multiple walkers change the length of a track.