Julie Theriot: Discovering Design Principles for Cells and Organisms

From stereocilia in the inner ear to the helical chloroplasts of the green alga Spirogyra, there is immense diversity in cellular structures. What are the underlying physical principles that allow these structures to emerge? Julie Theriot argues that protein folding theories fail to explain how cells build large-scale assemblies, and so scientists are working to develop a new theory of cell structure determination.

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Recorded: 2014
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About the Speaker

Julie Theriot is Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at Stanford University School of Medicine and Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Theriot’s research focuses on understanding cell organization and motility, as well as host-pathogen interactions in bacterial infections. She combines a number of disciplines, including cell biology, bacterial genetics, mathematical modeling, and video-microscopy in her studies. Theriot was awarded fellowships from both the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Aside from research, Theriot has dedicated her career to educating students in classrooms and through textbooks. She has won numerous teaching awards from her doctoral and medical students. She also co-authored the biophysics textbook Physical Biology of the Cell, along with her colleagues Rob Phillips and Jane Kondev.

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