Meeting Information

Biophysics of Life in Extreme Environments

October 16, 2019
American Center for Physics
College Park, MD

Date: October 16, 2019

Speaker: Toshiko Ichiye, William G. McGowan Professor of Chemistry: Georgetown University    

Topic: Biophysics of Life in Extreme Environments

Time and Location: 1:00 p.m., with Q&A to follow in a 1st floor conference room at the American Center for Physics (, 1 Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD-- off River Rd., between Kenilworth Ave. and Paint Branch Parkway.

Abstract: Life on Earth has been found in many extremes of pressure P and temperature T. There are speculations that life on Earth may have originated in deep-sea hydrothermal vents at high P and T and that life on Mars may exist deep subsurface, also at high P and T. This leads to the question of how proteins necessary for life can function at extreme P and T. This talk will focus on studies of the material properties of functional proteins at extreme conditions using molecular dynamics computer simulations. First, I will discuss how P and T affect an enzyme and how that enzyme from piezophilic (pressure-loving) microbes is adapted for pressure. Then I will discuss how solutes in the intracellular environment may protect proteins against the effects of pressure.

Biography: Toshiko Ichiye ( is the William G. McGowan Professor of Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry at Georgetown University. She received her B.A. in physics from Rice University and her Ph.D. in biophysics from Harvard University. Her research interests include studies of protein dynamics and of water and aqueous solutions using computational methods.