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Single Molecule Biophysics
An ultrastable single molecule measurement platform (image credit: Greg Kubler)
Individual biological molecules can be directly interrogated by techniques such as atomic force microscopy (AFM). In contrast, bulk methods yield ensemble averages that can obscure asynchronous activities.
Further, traditional structural characterization techniques are notoriously difficult to apply to membrane proteins. However, these ubiquitous and pharmaceutically significant molecules are well suited to high-resolution AFM investigations.
We are developing and implementing unique high-precision single molecule techniques to shed light on the structure, structural energetics, and conformational dynamics of biomolecules including membrane proteins.
A central question is: How does the dynamic structure of these molecules influence their function?
An ultrastable atomic force microscope complements traditional molecular characterization techniques by providing an atomically precise means to address this question in physiologically relevant conditions.