Biological Systems

Complex biological processes can be understood from the structures and properties of specific molecules that are the building blocks of living organisms. The Physics of Biological Systems research program seeks to explain biology from precise physical descriptions of how individual molecules work together like tiny machines to produce specific biological functions. To do this, we identify specific molecules involved in biological processes, determine their molecular structures and interactions using highly precise and sensitive physical instruments and techniques that are able to monitor the structure, dynamics and properties of biomolecules, and are able to view and manipulate single molecules and to measure their behavior.


Ongoing Research

Recent Publications

  1. Zhang, Y.*, Sivasankar, S.*, Nelson,W.J., and Chu, S., (2009) Resolving cadherin interactions and binding cooperativity at the single molecule level, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 106, 109-114
    *equal contribution
  2. Sivasankar, S. and Chu, S., (2009) Nanoparticle mediated non-fluorescent bonding of microspheres to atomic force microscope cantilevers and imaging fluorescence from bonded cantilevers with single molecule sensitivity, Nano Lett., (in press) DOI: 10.1021/nl900616y
  3. Sivasankar, S.*, Zhang, Y.*, Nelson,W.J., and Chu, S., (2009) Characterizing the initial encounter complex in cadherin adhesion, (submitted to Structure)
    *equal contribution