Through natural selection, evolution has developed an amazing collection of microscopic molecular machines. Living things depend on these microscopic machines to accomplish efficient, rapid, robust energy conversion, despite the fact that they are composed of floppy materials. Dr. David Sivak, Canada Research Chair in Nonequilibrium Statistical Biophysics, is uncovering the design principles that govern the complex mechanical process these biomolecules use to convert energy.
He and his research team are testing how energy is saved by “smart” operation and how naturally evolved machines are tuned to enhance their performance. Ultimately, their research will advance our understanding of the physical underpinnings of life. It will also provide quantitative guidance for improving artificial machines, such as artificial photosynthetic materials and computer memory.