Distributions and Orientations of Gangliosides in Membranes

Project Year: 

2017

Team Leaders: 

Wonpil Im, Ph.D. - Biological Sciences
Aurelia Honerkamp Smith, Ph.D. - Physics
Nathan Wittenberg, Ph.D. - Chemistry

Graduate Students: 

Ashley Baxter
Ross Gunderson

Undergraduate Students: 

Omar Ahmed
Brianne Barker
Matthew Grapel
Steven Imburgio
Aleria Safforld

Project Description: 

We have formed an interdisciplinary group to study a class of molecules which are called gangliosides because they are found on the surface of brain cells. They form part of the lipid membrane, which is the barrier between the cell’s inside and outside. One group of experimentalists will measure how these molecules influence the rupturing of lipid membranes.  Another group will use microscopy to observe how gangliosides move when flow is applied to the membrane. While these experiments are going on, theorists will conduct simulations to see the molecular-scale details of ganglioside interactions.