Summer School '09


The Center for the Physics of Living Cells (CPLC), held its first ever CPLC Summer School from July 26-August 1, 2009 on the Illinois campus.  The summer school, coordinated by Jaya Yodh, CPLC director of education and outreach, was designed primarily for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in chemical and life sciences, biophysics, physics, and engineering in order to learn the latest single-molecule, live-cell experimental and computational biophysical tools to investigate biological problems. Nineteen students from the USA and abroad attended the summer school including two undergraduates, twelve graduate students, and five post-doctoral fellows.   The week-long program included two days of "basic training" for all participating students with four components:
1) lectures by CPLC faculty
2) tours of CPLC laboratories
3) a CPLC poster session
4) introductory mini-courses on molecular biology, optics, and software taught by CPLC graduate students and postdocs.

This was followed by a three-day "advanced module"--also taught by CPLC graduate students and postdocs--offering intensive training in one of the following six topics based on CPLC faculty areas of expertise:
1) Single-molecule FRET: (Ha lab)
2) Single-Molecule FIONA (Selvin lab)
3) Single-molecule Force and Optical Trapping: (Chemla lab)
4) Spatio-temporal Microscopy of Protein Dynamics in Living Cells (Gruebele lab)
5) Single-Event Detection in Living Cells (Ido Golding lab)
6) Computational Biophysics: Molecular Dynamics Software VMD and NAMD (Schulten, Luthey-Schulten, and Aksimentiev Groups). 

The critical mass of experimentalists, computational physicists, and theorists in the Center was critical for the success of the Summer School both in providing hands-on, on-site training in the physical quantification of processes in living cells as well as in providing a valuable teaching opportunity for the Center’s own graduate students and postdocs.

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