Science’s Elusive Realm: Life’s Little Mysteries

April 27, 2001 | Source: New York Times

The mysterious realm of the mesoscale, a region between molecules and living cells, where proteins fold, charged ions move through cell membranes and messenger molecules read DNA instructions in the cell nucleus, has remained largely inaccessible.

Now work has begun under the auspices of the Institute for Complex Adaptive Matter (ICAM), a new and independent unit of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley, to probe this domain. For example, they are exploring how amino acids fold themselves up to make functional proteins.