Single Molecule Biophysics: Nature's Nanotechnology

Research in our lab marries aspects of physics and biology to study the properties of proteins or nucleic acids at the level of single macromolecules and molecular complexes. Experimental tools include laser-based optical traps ("optical tweezers") and a variety of state-of-the-art fluorescence techniques, in conjunction with custom-built instrumentation for the nanometer-level detection of displacements and piconewton-level detection of forces. Click here for an Introduction to Optical Tweezers.Current experimental work in our lab focuses on several biological motors and polymers, including:

Kinesin, an ATPase that steps along microtubules
RNA polymerase, the enzyme that transcribes the genetic code
lambda exonuclease, an enzyme that digests one of the two helical DNA strands
DNA and RNA structure