Roger Springett, Dartmouth Medical School

Topic: "Biophysics of Mitochondrial Function"  (Video)

ABSTRACT: Mitochondria are subcellular organelles of eukaryotes (cells containing a nucleus of which the human body is composed). They are approximately 1 micron in diameter, they contain their own DNA, divide and multiply like bacteria, and are believed to originate from a symbiotic relationship between bacteria and early eukaryotes. Their primary role is to consume oxygen and generate energy for the cell but they also contain proteins that trigger programmed cell death (apoptosis) when released from the mitochondria. I have developed optical spectroscopy instrumentation that can follow energy production and protein release in real time and this colloquium describes the thermodynamics of energy transduction and biophysics of protein release.