photo of oil being poured from a pitcher

Physics and Astronomy Lecture: “You Are What You Eat – The physics of how diet influences biological function”

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Coos Bay, OR – Southwestern Oregon Community College welcomes Dr. Drake Mitchell, Chair of Physics at Portland State University, as part of the Physics & Astronomy Lecture Series for his talk, “You are what you eat: The physics of how diet influences biological function”.

The lecture will be held on Thursday, November 10, 2022, at 7 pm in Umpqua Hall, the new Health and Science Technology building, on the Coos Campus (1988 Newmark Ave., Coos Bay) and is free for everyone.

Dr. Mitchell’s talk will explore the physics behind important biological functions such as sight, taste, smell, muscle movement, and nerve impulses that are all initiated by receptor proteins embedded in membranes. Each of these activities begins when a protein that spans a biological membrane undergoes a change in shape, in response to a specific chemical or physical stimulus. The physical properties of the membranes which surround these receptor proteins can have a profound effect on their functional efficacy. These physical, or matrix, properties depend on the composition of the membrane, which is often a reflection of the fat and oil in our diet. Certain matrix properties are largely determined by the balance of saturated lipids (Crisco, lard), polyunsaturated lipids (fish oil, flax), and cholesterol in the membrane. The discussion will examine the general interplay between membrane composition and receptor function and structure with a particular focus on how these matrix properties alter both receptor function and stability. 

The lecture will be live streamed for those that cannot come to campus. Access the live stream via our website or at this link: https://livestream.com/swocc/physicsandastronomy2022-23.

For more information please contact Dr. Aaron Coyner, Associate Professor of Physics, at 541-888-7244, [email protected]. To learn more about physics and engineering degrees at Southwestern visit https://physics.socc.edu/.