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Molecular Motions

Leaders:  Y. Goldman, PHYSIO,  & H. Bau, MEAM
R. Composto, MSE, D. Discher, CBE, H. Hu, MEAM, P. Nelson, PHYS

mol motion image
Schematic depiction (left) of a dielectrophoretically positioned actin filament across a trench between two electrodes. Adjusting the intensity of the electric field controls the filamentís stiffness. Trapped, fluorescently-labeled actin filaments (right) suspended between two electrodes.

This research team applies novel techniques that manipulate molecules and materials at the nanometer scale to understand complex assembly and functional behaviors of molecular motors, cellular cytoplasmic and matrix-proteins and the protein synthetic apparatus.  The effect of attachment to surfaces and comparison with function away from a surface is explicit in these investigations.  Studies span biological polymer synthesis, folding, supramolecular self-assembly, directed energy transduction, and the theory of statistical fluctuations that dominate nanometer-scale physical behavior.

The Molecular Motions group develops novel techniques to manipulate and characterize motion of motor proteins, DNA, and protein folding; study the mechanical and electrical properties of single molecules and the interface between the molecule, the solvent and nearby surfaces; exploit microfluidics and surface engineering to control local environments; and design, construct and test a unique molecular motor-driven device that demonstrates separation, concentration, purification and detection of proteins or nucleic acids

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Nano/Bio Interface Center @ The University of Pennsylvania
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