University of Leicester eBulletin

Molecules That Move

April 2003
No 102

One of the characteristics that distinguishes living from non-living things is co-ordinate movement, yet at molecular level the components of all materials undergo frantic vibrations and collisions many millions of times per second.

In his Inaugural Lecture University of Leicester Professor of Physical Biochemistry Clive R Bagshaw will explore how these frenetic molecular motions are harnessed in nature to result in such co-ordinated movement as muscle contraction.

Professor Bagshaw commented: “Our knowledge of these events is based on more than 100 years of studying a core protein, myosin, from a biological, chemical and physical angle.  My presentation will focus on the methods that I have used to define movements within the myosin molecule and how these may impart net motion relative to a partner protein, actin.”

He will also discuss the extensive use that has been made of the phenomenon of fluorescence, which in recent years has enabled the behaviour of single myosin molecules to be studied.  

He added: “The complexity of these molecular machines reveals that there is ample ‘room at the bottom’ for developments in nanotechnology.” His research has been sponsored primarily by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, The Wellcome Trust and The Royal Society.

Professor Clive R Bagshaw’s Inaugural Lecture, entitled Molecules that Move will take place on Tuesday, May 6, 2003 at 5.30 pm in Lecture Theatre 1, Ken Edwards Building, University of Leicester main campus. It is open to the public and free.

NOTE TO EDITORS: More information is available from Professor Clive R Bagshaw, Professor of Physical Biochemistry, University of Leicester Department of Biochemistry, tel 0116 252 3454, fax 0116 252 3369, email

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