Printer Friendly Version (scmbio.html) Author(s):Maikel Rheinstadter

Soft-Condensed Matter & Biophysics
at McMaster University

Soft matter has been described by Pierre-Gilles de Gennes in his Nobel lecture as materials which can experience large transformations in response to minute perturbations. Such complex systems are the ones that we, "Softies", like to study. Our interests range from polymer to biological systems. We enjoy getting together for both formal and informal exchanges (e.g. at our weekly journal club or annual retreat).

Molecular Biophysics Group
Group leader: Cecile Fradin
Our research focuses on the dynamics of proteins in complex environments and in live cells, which we investigate using different fluorescence and scattering techniques. At the moment our two major research efforts are in understanding the mechanism of protein-induced pore formation in the outer mitochondrial membrane during apoptosis and in studying the formation of protein concentration gradients in cells.

Theoretical Biophysics Group
Group leader: Paul Higgs
We are interested in applications of statistical mechanics to biological problems: RNA folding, population genetics, and evolutionary biology. In recent years we have been working on bioinformatics, molecular phylogenetics, and mitochondrial genomes.

Experiments in Soft and Living Matter
Group leader: Kari Dalnoki-Veress
The main focus of our research group is the study soft and living matter at surfaces and interfaces. We study a range of systems including polymeric materials, microswimmers like C. elegans (a small nematode) and bacteria, living cells and soft-colloids.

Theoretical Polymer Physics Group
Group leader: An-Chang Shi
We are generally interested in the theory of soft condensed matter physics and the ability of these systems to self-assemble into complex organized structures from nanoscopic to macroscopic length scales.
Laboratory for Membrane and Protein Dynamics
Group leader: Maikel Rheinstadter
We study the dynamics and function of membranes and proteins, using x-ray and neutron scattering techniques. With our equipment, we prepare and characterize artificial and biological membranes and manipulate microscopic and macroscopic properties. Our goal is to study proteins at work and understand the influence of membrane composition and properties on protein function.