Ion channels are biological proteins which live in the membrane of cells and conduct ions through the cell’s membrane. These channels are integral to many vital physiological processes, such as in intercellular communications by way of an ionic charge-induced action potential. Reduced models of the calcium and sodium channel have provided insight into that mechanisms of ion cation selection. Experimental conditions involving binary mixtures of alkali and/or alkaline earth metal ions are computed using equilibrium Monte Carlo simulations in the grand canonical ensemble. This approach using Metropolis sampling allows efficient computation with very small ionic concentrations. The seminar will cover the reasons how the channels are able to selectively permit the flow of certain species of ions while blocking other physiological cations.
Jim Fonseca received his PhD from Ohio University while researching the Na,K-ATPase with molecular dynamics studies. Since then, he has investigated ion channels using reduced model approaches at Rush University in Chicago where he is now a visiting assistant professor.
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