University of New Mexico Centennial Engineering Center (CEC) is hosting guest speaker, Sarah L. Keller for the Phi Beta Kappa Scholar lecture, "How Playing with Unrealistically Simple Systems Gives Insight into Real Cell Membranes," on Thursday, Feb. 28 at 3:30 p.m. in the CEC Auditorium. A public reception follows at 4:30 p.m. in the CEC common room.

Budding architects can learn some fundamental design principles by playing with LEGOs. Likewise, we can learn some fundamental properties of cell membranes and the proteins that reside in them by playing with toy systems, which are in this case artificial membranes made in the laboratory.

Keller is a biophysicist who investigates self-assembling soft condensed matter systems. Recently, her research has focused on how simple lipid mixtures within bilayer membranes give rise to complex phase behavior. She is the recipient of the department's 2004 Outstanding Teaching Award, as well as the university's 2006 Distinguished Teaching Award. Keller is currently the Associate Dean for Research Activities for the University of Washington College of Arts and Sciences.