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Single-molecule Biophysics

A main focus of our laboratory is to use single-molecule imaging techniques to study how proteins work together to shape and safeguard the genome. If we imagine proteins as a team of workers who have jobs to do on DNA, we need to understand how these players bind to specific DNA sequences and come together to bring about functions. Single-molecule techniques gather information on large populations of individual molecules. Single-molecule imaging and manipulation techniques allow us to observe and detect biologically important rare events or conformations that would not be detectable in bulk assays. In other words. single-molecule imaging platforms set a stage for individual proteins to act before us and tell their own stories. Foremost, seeing how each tiny and fragile protein machinery works to shape and protect the genome brings tremendous joy and awe, that motivates us to work harder in order to make our new discoveries relevant to the improvement of human health and the environment.

High-speed AFM videos of Twinkle helicase protein binding to DNA (by Dr. Parminder Kaur using Asylum VRS) published at NAR, 2022.


Startup provided by NC State University, NIEHS K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award, Center for Human Health and the Environment Pilot Projects and RISF at NCSU, NIGMS R01, and NIAID R21.