BioE COLLOQUIA SERIES: Lipid Domains in Biological Membranes


Event details

Date and time 18.11.2019 12:15  
Place and room
Speaker Prof. Liana C. Silva, Research Institute for Medicines, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lisbon (PT)
Category Conferences - Seminars
(sandwiches served)

The biological roles of several bioactive lipids have been linked to changes promoted by these molecules on membrane structure and properties. Such alterations include the formation of specialized membrane regions – lipid domains - that display specific lipid/protein composition, and thus characteristic biophysical properties. Typical examples are the lipid rafts and the ceramide-platforms.

It is widely hypothesized that the compositional and biophysical distinct features of lipid domains are the key for their specific biological roles. Therefore, understanding how lipids modulate the biophysical properties of biological membranes will foster the knowledge of the molecular mechanisms by which they regulate cellular events. However, most of our present knowledge is limited to studies performed in artificial membranes or under non-physiological mimicking conditions, mainly due to the inherent complexity associated to the study of lipid interactions in biological membranes. To overcome this limitation, we developed a bottom-up experimental strategy that enables evaluating the biophysical impact of lipids in living cell membranes, and evaluate their roles in physiological and pathological membrane dynamics.

LC Silva graduated in Biochemistry in 2001 at the Faculty of Sciences, Universidade de Lisboa (UL), Portugal, and obtained her PhD degree in Chemistry (Molecular Biophysics) in 2006 at the Instituto Superior Técnico (IST-UL). She developed her post-doctoral project at the interface between molecular biophysics and biochemistry as a research fellow at the Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS), Israel and at the IST (2007-2009). In 2009, she was awarded a Ciência 2008 Research position to set her research team focused on Molecular & Cellular Biophysics at the Faculty of Pharmacy from the UL. She currently holds an Investigator FCT research position at the same institution. LC Silva has an interdisciplinary background in biochemistry and cell biology, quantitative photophysics and molecular biophysics. Her research is multidisciplinary and bridges membrane biophysics and cell biology. She is interested in understanding the role of membrane biophysical properties in cell function and pathology. Her research is focused on membrane lipids and their interplay in biological membranes, aiming at evaluating their role in membrane organization and function, and to provide the molecular tools to develop improved therapeutics.

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