From Gravity to Gradients: The Nanoscale Physics of Cells

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014 at 3:00 pm
Center for Legislative Studies (CLS), Auditorium

Understanding macroscopic multicellular life requires the study of processes occurring in the microscopic nanoscale world of individual cells where the relevant physics is very different from the physics governing macroscopic processes. This talk will draw on examples from my research to highlight some physical principles that are important to the nanoscale processes of life. Experimental results will be presented to highlight the relative unimportance of gravity at the nanoscale compared to diffusion. Additionally, the importance of electrochemical gradients at the nanoscale will be emphasized by sharing results from my computational neuroscience and calcium signaling research.

Dr. Jeffrey R. Groff, Institute of Environmental and Physical Sciences

Dr. Groff is assistant professor of physics in the Institute of Environmental and Physical Sciences. He completed his undergraduate degree at McDaniel College in Westminster, MD and earned his masters degree and Ph.D in Applied Science at the College of William and Mary. Prior to being appointed as Shepherd, Dr. Groff served as a visiting assisting professor of physics at Gettysburg College and as a calculus instructor at William in Mary. Dr. Groff's research interests include the computational study of neural communication and intracellular calcium signaling, the teaching of biological physics in introductory physics courses, and the application of embedded electronics for environmental monitoring. Dr. Groff's two most recent publications are "Estimating the Size of Onion Epidermal Cells from Diffraction Patterns" appearing in the Physics Teacher and "Exploring Dynamical Systems and Chaos Using the Logistic Map Model of Population Change" appearing in the American Journal of Physics. Dr. Groff also serves on the Board of Directors for the American Conservation Film Festival and recently was honored by receiving the McDaniel Honors Program College Scholar Alumni Award.