Congratulations to Assistant Professor Paul Whitford who has received an NSF Career Award for $954K. The project, “Disorder, tRNA Composition and Energy Transduction in the Ribosome,” will employ simulations to identify ways that biomolecular machines convert energy into mechanical work. In particular, this work seeks to reveal how disorder is utilized to increase efficiency and accuracy in the cell. The molecular system of interest is the ribosome, a large complex responsible for building proteins. Within the ribosome, large-scale conformational rearrangements facilitate the transfer of energy between chemical and mechanical steps. To identify the molecular origins of these steps, this project will investigate the dynamics of Elongation Factors, the molecules that serve as the ribosome’s “engine.” By identifying the functional properties of these molecules, these studies will reveal the physical principles that control biological function.
An exciting first year culminates with a prestigious NSF grant.