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Assistant Professor Adjoint, Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
The biochemical cycle of mechanoenzymes generates a force and a displacement that can be measured at the single-molecule level. The outstanding question is how motor proteins transduce chemical energy into physical motion. To answer this question, we use optical tweezers, a focused laser beam that can manipulate micron-sized beads in solution, allowing measurement of position and force in the nanometer (nm) and piconewton (pN) ranges, respectively. Our research focuses on developing assays and precision instrumentation to measure the properties of single-DNA-based molecular motors. Typically, enzymatic motion along the DNA is measured by anchoring the enzyme to a surface and monitoring the position of an optically trapped bead attached to the DNA's distal end.