Michaela Kajšová, from the Czech Republic, is the winner of the 2015 EUCYS EuChEMS Award with her project entitled “The Effect of Cholesterol on Biological Membranes”.
Mammalian cell membranes, thin borders on the surface of cells in the bodies, are responsible for molecular transport. The purpose of this project was to clarify the influence of cholesterol on different types of lipid membranes in atomistic details. M. Kajšová prepared bilayers composed of various types of lipids, differing in the percentage of present cholesterol. She monitored the system behavior for 200 ns using molecular dynamics simulations and then performed several analyses. All the membranes were more organised and less fluid after addition of cholesterol. The properties of the membrane differ depending on the lipid bilayer type. However, cholesterol reduces the differences and makes all the membranes almost similar, when the amount of cholesterol increases far above normal values.