Conferences & Symposia

Molecules, Movement, and Motors

Molecules, Movement, and Motors

The symposium brings together experts in genetics, chemistry, biology, physics, medicine, and engineering to discuss the mechanics of motors—from naturally occurring motors, such as those inside cells, to new synthetic motors made from DNA. The exploration about how motors work and what we can learn from studying them will address an array of questions: Are motors specific for a single task, or can they adapt to multiple functions? What makes motors start and stop moving? What are common features that make an effective motor? How can we build on new understandings of motors to cure disease and make other improvements to human life?



Registration opens


Welcoming Remarks

Lizabeth Cohen, Interim Dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and Howard Mumford Jones Professor of American Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University

Rosalind Segal, Senior Adviser to the Science Program, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study; Professor of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School; Member, Departments of Pediatric Oncology and Cancer Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard University


“What Happens When Proteins and Their Junctions Are Pulled upon by Motors?”

Viola Vogel, Professor, Department of Materials and Head of the Laboratory for Biologically Oriented Materials, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich

Introduced by Joanna Aizenberg, Director of the Science Program and Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study; Amy Smith Berylson Professor of Materials Science, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences; Director, Kavli Institute for Bionanoscience; Faculty Member, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering


“Designing Intelligent Nano/Microbots”

Ayusman Sen, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Pennsylvania State University

Introduced by Judith Steen, Assistant Professor of Neurobiology, Children’s Hospital Boston


Break and Poster Session


“Using Chemical Gradients as Motors to Propel Biomimetic Cells and Worms”

Anna C. Balazs, Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering and Robert Von der Luft Professor, University of Pittsburgh Introduced by Dimitar Sasselov, Senior Adviser to the Science Program, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study; Professor of Astronomy, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences; Director, Harvard Origins of Life Initiative


“Molecular Motors in Axonal Transport”

Larry S.B. Goldstein, Distinguished Professor, Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of California at San Diego; Director, UC San Diego Stem Cell Program; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Introduced by Elizabeth Engle, Professor of Neurology, Departments of Neurology and Ophthalmology, Children’s Hospital Boston; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute


Lunch Break and Poster Session


“The Molecular Basis of Human Hypertrophic and Dilated Cardiomyopathies”

James Spudich, Douglass M. and Nola Leishman Professor of Cardiovascular Disease, Stanford University

Introduced by Thomas Schwarz, Professor of Neurology and Neurobiology, Department of Neurology, Kirby Neurobiology Center, Children’s Hospital Boston


“Movement and Motility of the Eukaryotic Cilium”

Susan K. Dutcher, Professor and Interim Head, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Physiology, Washington University in St. Louis

Introduced by Rosalind Segal


Break and Poster Session


“Shedding Light on Motor Function, One Molecule at a Time”

Steven M. Block, Stanford W. Ascherman, M.D., Professor and Professor of Applied Physics and Biology, and Senior Fellow, by courtesy, at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University

Introduced by Joan Ruderman, Senior Advisor to the Science Program, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study; Marion V. Nelson Professor of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School


Closing Remarks

Samara Reck-Peterson, Assistant Professor of Cell Biology, Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School


Reception and Poster Session