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Mathematical Biology

Speaker: Josh Baker, University of Nevada
Location: 2112 MSB
Start time: Mon, Jun 4 2012, 3:10PM

Muscles contract when the thousands of myosin molecules contained within collectively generate force and movement using the free energy for ATP hydrolysis. Models of muscle contraction and regulation typically define mechanics and structure at the single molecule level, invoking the simplifying assumption that the mechanical and structural states of one molecule are uncoupled from the mechanical and structural states of neighboring molecules. In contrast, we have developed simple models of muscle contraction and regulation that implicitly assume that myosin molecules in muscle are mechanically coupled and that thin filament structures are dynamic on the time scale of actin-myosin biochemistry. These models provide analytical expressions for muscle contraction and regulation; they are easily accessible to researchers and easily incorporated into models of tissue and organ function; and in using minimal model parameters they provide a description of muscle contraction with fewer unconstrained variables than more molecular explicit models.