The "TSRC Protein Dynamics Workshop" has been held biennially in the odd calendar years since 1999 at the Telluride Science Research Center (TSRC) in Telluride, Colorado. TSRC was established in 1984 as a scientific research center and has since grown to support 50 annual meetings involving 1,200 scientists from around the world on a variety of topics focused on “molecular science.”
The TSRC Protein Dynamics Workshop has traditionally included scientists using computational and experimental approaches to address fundamental problems in molecular biophysics. The participation in the workshop has always included a strong representation of scientists from Europe and Japan, in addition to North America. The participation has also largely been restricted to junior and senior faculty, with limited participation of graduate students and postdoctoral research scientists.
The motivation for the Les Houches – TSRC Protein Dynamics Workshop is to build on the reputation and tradition of the long-standing and highly successful TSRC Protein Dynamics Workshop while expanding the scope and impact of the workshop in important ways.
(1) ENHANCING EUROPEAN PARTICIPATION: Travel to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado can be a time-consuming and expensive journey for scientists from Europe and Asia. The choice of location of the workshop in the facilities of the École de Physique des Houches is expected to enhance participation by European scientists, which is an important goal for the planned workshop.
(2) OFFERING COMPUTATIONAL TUTORIALS: Traditionally the TSRC Protein Dynamics Workshop has consisted of expert lectures on topics of current research. For the Les Houches – TSRC Protein Dynamics Workshop we will build on the traditions of the École de Physique des Houches by enhancing the pedagogical aspects of the meeting. A doctoral training session intended for PhD students (and perhaps also a few masters students and postdocs) will be offered and consist of relatively longer and more pedagogical lectures to complement the presentations of cutting-edge research that will comprise the majority of the Workshop.
(3) INCREASING STUDENT/POSTDOC PARTICIPATION: The Les Houches site offers roughly double the capacity of the TSRC venues, and hence provides a unique opportunity to increase the participation of graduate students and postdocs in a setting that preserves the intimacy of the TSRC Workshops. For the Les Houches – TSRC Protein Dynamics Workshop we aspire to involve 60 participants overall, evenly divided between junior and senior faculty (30 principal investigators) and graduate students and postdoctoral research scientists (30 in all).
We request the support of CECAM to cover in part expenses related to travel and lodging of junior participants, particularly graduate students and postdoctoral scientists. Additional support for the event is being sought from funding agencies in the United States as well as corporate sponsors.
NOTE ON LOCATION: The inaugural Les Houches – TSRC Protein Dynamics Workshop will be held at the École de Physique des Houches (our proposal to use the site has been approved). The site, which has been in operation at its present location in the shadow of the French Alps since 1951, has a long tradition of hosting relatively small (< 100 attendees), focused workshops and schools in a secluded setting that stimulates intense discussion during formal presentations and promotes fruitful, informal interactions between all participants, including senior investigators, young investigators, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students.
The operations of the École de Physique des Houches are funded in part by Université Joseph Fourier of Grenoble, the Centre Nationale de Recherches Scientifiques (CNRS) and the Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique (CEA) in order to reduce participation expenses, broaden participation (beyond senior scientists), and to promote the education of young scientists. The final registration fee charged to participants will include the Les Houches rate (73 € / day/ participant) plus an additional fee for TSRC management and expenses of 20 € per day per person.
The 2014 Les Houches - TSRC Protein Dynamics Workshop will be a forum for presenting and discussing results from the application of state-of-the-art experimental techniques and complementary theoretical/computational approaches to studying protein dynamics.
The study of complex biomolecular dynamics has seen remarkable enhancements in computational algorithms and resources alongside impressive advances in experimental methodologies. Increasingly, the spatial and time domains accessible to state-of-the-art computational models and experiments are commensurate, providing opportunities for previously unprecedented critical comparisons of the predictions of computational models as well as the molecular-level interpretation of experimental data.
The activities of the 2014 Les Houches - TSRC Protein Dynamics Workshop will place a particular focus on the (1) presentation of new results and outstanding challenges in the field of protein dynamics and (2) comparison of theoretical and computational predictions with the results of experimental studies.
Specific topics of focus that will be addressed in pedagogical lectures and research presentations include (1) evaluation of theories of energy, heat, and signal flow in proteins against high resolution optical spectroscopy methods; (2) direct comparison of state-of-the-art molecular dynamics simulations and time-resolved x-ray crystallography of protein dynamics in photolysis, light-harvesting, and ligand binding; (3) evaluation of current methods for the simulation of membrane proteins with modern neutron and x-ray scattering methods; (4) quantitative analysis of contributions of dynamics to the thermodynamics of protein-protein and protein-ligand interactions through comparison of simulation and NMR experiments; (5) characterization of the effects of the environment of a protein (aqueous solvent, membrane, and crowded environment of the cell) on its dynamics and function, using a variety of scattering techniques and MD simulations.