512. WE-Heraeus-Seminar: Single Molecule Kinetics

Single Molecule Kinetics

Su, 29.07.2012 16:00  –   We, 01.08.2012 13:00
T. Hugel (TU München), M. Rief (TU München)
Physikzentrum Bad Honnef
Hauptstr. 5, 53604 Bad Honnef, Germany

Event partner:
Wilhelm and Else Heraeus-Foundation
Contact person:
Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biophysics,


512. Wilhelm und Else Heraeus-Seminar

Welcome to the website for the Wilhelm und Else Heraeus-Seminar on 'Single Molecule Kinetics' at the Physikzentrum Bad Honnef. This site is intended to provide you with general information, registration instructions and latest updates. The workshop is a three day course from Sunday, 29th July to Wednesday 1st August, 2012 (See Program for further details). Please use the navigation menu above to learn more about the program, travel instructions and registration.

The Seminar

In recent years the field of single molecule methods has rapidly evolved and these techniques are increasingly used by non-specialists in the field of biotechnology and life sciences. A fundamental problem that currently exists in the field of single molecule methods is the lack of generally accepted standards of measurement and analysis of data. This often leads to wrong or incomplete conclusions. This seminar will bring together internationally recognized experts from theory and experiment together with young scientists from different fields of single molecule research. The seminar is intended to propose a bridge between the different methods, time scales and disciplines.

The Foundation

Funding for this seminar is kindly provided by the Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Foundation, within their program to advance scientific communication and advancement. Please consult the foundation homepage (mostly in german) for more information

In brief, the Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Foundation is a private foundation which supports scientific research and education with emphasis on physics. It was established in 1963 by Dr. Wilhelm Heinrich Heraeus (1900 - 1985) and his wife Else Heraeus (1903 - 1987). Since the mid-seventies of the last century the Foundation has been cooperating closely with the German Physical Society (DPG). The Wilhelm und Else Heraeus-Stiftung is the most important private institution funding physics in Germany.

Scientific Background

In the past 10 years single molecule force and fluorescence measurements have significantly contributed to the understanding of molecular (biological) processes. Examples are energy conversion (mostly chemo-mechanical) in proteins, transcription, translation, chaperoning or molecular transport.

The ultimate goal of the methods is a measurement of kinetics over many time scales from nanoseconds to many minutes (these are all relevant to biological processes). Until now confocal fluorescence methods and molecular dynamics simulations give data on the Pico-and nanosecond scale, while surface-based fluorescence methods and force spectroscopy usually give meaningful data from several milliseconds to minutes. We could win world-renowned experts from all methods and time scales as invited speaker to close the gap between nano-and milliseconds.

In almost all cases, the data is custom fit with more or less complicated models. For two-state systems kinetic models are simple, but already current measurements give data on much more complex systems. Here are so-called "hidden Markov" and "maximum likelihood" methods very promising – and molecular dynamics simulations are becoming more and more successful. However, the great variety of methods and large number of model parameters often allows several interpretations for the same system. The seminar will allow to gain an overview over the most recent and powerful experimental and theoretical methods.