Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Martin Karplus, a professor at the University of Strasbourg, rewarded - Alsace fr.

The chemist Martin Karplus is conventionné professor at the University of Strasbourg since 1995. DR

The chemist Martin Karplus has an agreement with the University of Strasbourg since 1995 professor. DR

Martin Karplus, 83, was born in Vienna. With his parents and brother, he emigrated to the United States in 1938 at the time of the Anschluss. Naturalized American in 1945, he also kept his Austrian nationality. He earned his doctorate at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 1953 with Linus Pauling, a year before it is awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

First simulation in 1977

Martin Karplus is, since 1995, under agreement professor at the University of Strasbourg and professor of chemistry at Harvard. With his wife, he divides his time between Massachusetts and Strasbourg, where he directs the Laboratory for Biophysical Chemistry at the Institute of Science and Supramolecular Engineering (Isis).

He developed what is called “the Karplus equation” used in particular in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), a phenomenon used in chemistry, physics and materials especially in medical imaging.

Andrew McCammon and Bruce Gelin, in 1977 he published the first molecular dynamics simulation of a protein biological function using quantum physics.

are the simulation work of Martin Karplus, but also his co-winners, Michael Levitt and Arieh Warsheel, which were awarded yesterday by the Nobel Prize in chemistry, explains Marco Cecchini, a former post- PhD from 2005 to 2009 and now heads the Junior Engineering laboratory of molecular functions. “Martin Karplus modeling was used to describe the dynamics of biological structure from the interaction of atoms together, but also with their environment,” says the chemist.

example of this type of simulations: ion channels, very important in neurology. These channels are formed by proteins located in the membranes of nerve cells. When a neurotransmitter binds to these proteins, they are able to open or close a channel through the membrane which will leave or not pass ions, thereby modulating nerve impulses. “The modeling will allow to understand the coupling between the binding of the neurotransmitter with the protein and the channel opening. “

proteins that move much

When, in 1977, Martin Karplus first successful simulation, “it was a big discovery, notes Marco Cecchini. It was then realized that the proteins were not rigid, but instead had flexibility and responded more to the physics of fluids to the solid. “

If there forty years, the power of computers does not allow to model the movements of a small protein on longer than a few picoseconds (billionths of milliseconds), “it was nevertheless sufficient to show that moved many proteins and that these changes in the structure of molecules explain their biological functions. ” Experiments have demonstrated the re-directed predictions from simulations.

“For twenty years we believed that Martin Karplus was nobélisable says his former post-doctoral fellow. And over the past decade, with the increase of the power of computers, the vision of modeling has changed. So far we considered that it was often dependent model, it is now recognized as widely generalizable. This probably explains the recognition this year the work of Martin Karplus. “

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