Swedish Neutron Education for Science & Society

Marie Lycksell, Swedish

The behaviour of molecules, especially those with biological importance, has long been a fascination of mine and influenced my academic pursuits. I’ve a bachelor degree in Biotechnology and a master degree in Molecular Science and Engineering, both from KTH in Stockholm, Sweden. In my master degree project I performed molecular dynamic simulations to study the interactions of an anaesthetic molecule and a pentameric ligand-gated ion channel. These channels are known to have important protein-membrane interactions, as specific lipid compositions are required for them to be functional. In my Ph.D. studies at Stockholm University it is the interactions between membrane proteins and the surrounding lipid bilayer that I aim to elucidate.

The dynamic nature of interactions between membranes and proteins has made study of these interactions difficult. Small angle neutron scattering (SANS) allow measurements at room temperature, where the dynamics and interactions of protein-lipid complexes are realistic, and is therefor an experimental approach that could provide new knowledge of these systems. Molecular dynamic simulations can also be used to study protein-lipid interactions and I aim to combine it with SANS in my work. By developing simulation restraints so that simulated SANS spectra of protein-lipid systems replicate experimental ones I will connect three-dimensional structures to SANS spectra and enable simulations of these systems guided by SANS results.