Computational Foundations for High-Resolution Cryo-EM

Speaker:Alberto Bartesaghi
Date: Thursday, February 2, 2017
Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Location: Learning Hall, Trent Semans Center for Health Education, Duke
Directions to Trent Semans Center
Lunch will be served.


Improvements in detector technology and computational techniques have transformed Cryo-EM into a powerful strategy for structure determination that can be used to study a broad spectrum of biological targets, with resolutions in some cases that are high enough to be relevant for facilitating drug discovery. In particular, the ability to sort out structural heterogeneity combined with the capability of direct electron detectors to operate in movie mode, has provided unique opportunities for the development of effective algorithmic strategies capable of teasing out high-resolution information from noisy frame sequences. I will give an overview of recent technical achievements in the field that have allowed the structural characterization of small and dynamic protein complexes involved in signaling and metabolism, and highlight some of the remaining technological barriers and challenges in statistical image analysis that would need to be addressed in order to further advance Cryo-EM frontiers.


Alberto Bartesaghi received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. from the Department of Electrical Engineering at the Universidad de la Republica, Montevideo, Uruguay in 1999 and 2001 respectively, and his Ph.D. from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, in 2005. He joined the Biophysics Section of the Laboratory of Cell Biology at the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD to conduct his post-doctoral studies, and is currently an Associate Scientist with the Center for Cancer Research. Dr. Bartesaghi works on the development and application of novel computational methods for high-resolution single-particle Cryo-Electron Microscopy and Cryo-Electron Tomography, to determine the structure of macromolecular assemblies of fundamental biomedical interest including targets for cancer drugs, membrane proteins, glycoproteins of enveloped viruses, and transporters and channels involved in signaling and metabolism. Dr. Bartesaghi received the "Norman P. Salzman Memorial Award in Virology" from the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD for his work on the molecular architecture of native HIV-1 gp120 trimers.

Hosted by:
Carlo Tomasi, Faculty Host; Marnie Rhoads, Administrative Support