During the month of December we’re featuring blog posts from researchers from across the University of Leeds showcasing the fantastic work they do using our High Performance Computing system. Follow us @RC_at_Leeds to keep up to date with our 12 days of HPC blog series.
What’s your name?
FFEA Team (Ryan Cocking, Molly Gravett, Ben Hanson, Oliver Harlen, Sarah Harris, Joanna Leng, Robin Oliver, Daniel Read, Robin Richardson, Tom Ridley, Jarvellis Rogers, Albert Solernou & Rob Welch)
What department do you work in?
Physics, Maths, Computing and Biology
What research question are you trying to answer?
The FFEA team are trying to understand the biological mesoscale, this means length-scales from 10-500 nm. At this length-scale many exciting things happen e.g. molecular motors transport cargos around the cell using the cytoskeleton as tracks. FFEA (fluctuating finite element analysis) uniquely enables us to simulate and visualise these biological processes in silico using experimental data, such as cryoEM, as input to the models.
How does HPC help your research?
Biological macromolecules are extremely complex and without HPC the equations that describe them are too slow to solve.
What is the potential impact of your research?
The biological mesoscale is the missing gap in our understanding of how information at the molecular level gives rise to function at the cellular. Therefore, better models at this scale would provide deeper fundamental understanding, help us get more from our experimental data and ultimately will help us to treat disease.
In your personal opinion what’s the coolest thing about your research?
Watching the molecules dance together… But also we have a good understanding of the physics of stars and planets, and subatomic particle physics, but don’t know anything about the mechanics of how these motors in our cells work.
What’s your favourite christmas film?