Probing Mechanics of Biomolecules and Cells on the Microsecond Timescale

When: Friday, October 18, 2013 at 4:00 pm
Where: DA 114
Speaker: Professor Ozgur Sahin
Organization: Department of Biological Sciences and Department of Physics, Columbia University
Sponsor: Physics Colloquium

Biological systems harness mechanical phenomena to serve critical functions at the molecular, cellular, and organismic levels. Beyond the variety in length scales, the mechanical processes are enriched further by the broad range of time scales involved. We have developed atomic force microscopy based techniques to access forces and displacements on the nanoscale with a temporal resolution approaching one microsecond. This rapid interface to biological systems allows probing single-molecule interactions with short lifetimes, measuring flexibility of proteins that is facilitating conformational changes, and visualizing mechanical behavior of live cells with high spatial resolution. We will present physical principles of the techniques involved and applications in the above mentioned areas.

Host: Assistant Professor Meni Wanunu