The tale of a pore: from structural biology to bioengineering


Event details

Date and time 19.04.2021 12:1513:15  
Speaker Matteo Dal Peraro
Category Conferences - Seminars
Biological complexity emerges from the organisation of matter at the atomic scale; therefore, understanding the molecular structure and dynamics of biological systems is fundamental to discover the physical principles that sustain life. Eventually, these same principles can be exploited to provide innovative biomedical and technological solutions. My laboratory approaches this problem using an integrative modelling approach, where theoretical and computational methods are combined with data originated from different experimental settings. In this seminar I will walk you through the different axes of research in the laboratory using as overarching example aerolysin, a pore-forming toxin that we have been studying for more than a decade. After having revealed its structure and pore-forming mechanism using integrative structural biology methods, we used molecular modelling and simulations to characterise the conduction properties of this pore at the membrane and understood its non-native ability to sense molecular entities such as DNA and peptides. Exploiting this fundamental knowledge we could then design and engineer mutant pores that showed enhanced single-molecule sensing properties for applications as diverse as (i) the detection of protein post-translational modifications for disease diagnosis and (ii) the reading of informational polymers for future data storage solutions.

Matteo Dal Peraro received his M.Sc. in Physics at the University of Padova and Ph.D. in Biophysics in 2004 at the  International  School for Advanced Studies in Trieste. He was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania before joining EPFL, where he is currently Associate Professor at the School of Life Sciences, leading the Laboratory for Biomolecular Modeling. He is also the director of the Doctoral Program in Computational and Quantitative Biology (EDCB) and the associate director of the Institute of Bioengineering (IBI).

Practical information

  • General public
  • Free
  • This event is internal


  • School of Life Sciences


  • Harald Hirling, Manuelle Mary


Structural biology integrative modelling membrane proteins nanopore sensing