Zhenya Zastavker
"DNA is Not the Only Helix in Town or A Story of Crafty Microsprings"


Scientists have been fascinated for decades with the ability of nature to form self-assembled structures of various configurations. One such configuration is the helix, a well-known secondary structure of DNA. However, DNA is not the only biological system possessing a helical shape; helices have been found in a variety of systems, one of which is bile in the gallbladder. Specifically, these helical ribbons are precursors of gallstones, which are found as a result of cholesterol crystallization in gallbladder bile. We will discuss a variety of helical structures formed in gallbladder bile and other model synthetic systems. We will also present possible theoretical reasons for nature's self-assembly of helical ribbons. Finally, we will address the reasons for and necessity of studying of these "crafty" microsprings.