Understanding how lipid membranes self-assemble, organize and interact with their environment is the task undertook by a growing community addressing the fundamental challenges posed by the Physics, the Chemistry and the Biology of lipid membranes, and to explore the promising applications in material science, biophysics, pharmacy and cosmetics.
Lipids are the fundamental constituents of living matter along with proteins, genes and carbohydrates. The recognition that lipids, ubiquitous but apparently structureless life blocks are as a matter of fa(c)t, as important for cell function and for health of organisms as any of its other biomolecular counterparts has perhaps been one of the most striking scientific paradigm shifts of the last two decades. In particular, the lipid propensity to self-assemble as bilayers is a key factor to the organization of living matter in compartments such as the cells and the organelles. Indeed, these two-molecule thick structures that extend over one square kilometer in a human organism are the backbone matrices of all biological membranes.
The Mcube group brings together Soft Matter physicists with experimental, theoretical and numerical simulation backgrounds to build a unique environment where theory accompanies experimental discoveries in Lipid Science, and where experiments inspire and challenge numerical simulations and theoretical developments. The scientific output of the group is the fruit of such fertile terrain.