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Quantum Dynamics & Biomolecular Function

April 09, 2007 – April 13, 2007


Yeppoon, Queensland, Australia


Ross McKenzie


The great success of biomolecular crystallography has led to the view of many biologists that at the molecular level functionality is largely determined by structure. However, there is increasing evidence that dynamics, both of the biomolecule and the solvent, can play a crucial role in the functionality of biomolecular systems. Furthermore, there are some processes in which quantum dynamics plays a crucial role. Examples include proton transfer in enzymes, exciton transfer in protein-pigment complexes, and signal transduction in bacteriorhodopsin. Understanding these issues is not just relevant to biochemists but also relates to fundamental scientific questions concerning the emergent properties of complex quantum systems, decoherence, and the quantum-classical crossover. These issues are also of relevance to drug design, molecular basis of diseases, and development of nanoscale devices such as photovoltaic cells and light emitting diodes.

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