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The Dunn group uses a three bead optical tweezer setup to study the mechanism and function of motor proteins with nanometer spatial resolution and millisecond temporal resolution. The trace shows an example of an event when the tweezer was oscillated.
The Dunn lab studies how individual biomolecules generate and respond to mechanical forces. In one of their projects fluid flow is used to exert mechanical loads on individual DNA and protein molecules.
The Frank lab researches high strength hydrogels that mimic the water content and mechanical properties of natural soft tissues. A collaborative project with The Ophthalmology and Bioengineering Departments hopes to use these materials for a fully synthetic artificial cornea.
Various flow techniques have been developed in the Fuller lab to produce organized, biocompatible structures for applications in tissue engineering. The fibrils of collagen protein can be manipulated to align, presenting an oriented substrate that directionally guides the cell growth of human fibroblasts.
One of the Khosla lab's interests is the investigation of modular megasynthases such as polyketide synthases, with the goal of harnessing their programmable chemistry for the biosynthesis of new pharmaceutically relevant natural products. Dr. Lou Charkoudian is examining pigmentation of a Type II polyketide producing strain with an engineered mutant strain.
The Khosla lab has undertaken projects aimed at understanding and modulating chemistry and biology of Celiac Sprue, an HLA-DQ2 associated immune disease of the small intestine. Graduate student Tommy Diraimondo is examining therapeutic approaches for Celic Sprue.
Mario Diaz de la Rosa in the Spakowitz lab develops theoretical models to understand how regulatory proteins find their target sites on DNA. This process involves a combination of sliding along the DNA and hopping between segments, and is critical in giving the cell rapid control over protein expression.
Understanding how DNA is packaged in chromatin within the cell can tell us how much of the genome is accessible for gene expression. Lena Koslover in the Spakowitz lab looks at the effects of DNA elasticity and local nucleosome geometry in different possible chromatin configurations.
The Swartz lab uses cell-free protein synthesis to produce a myriad of proteins at high yields. Among these proteins, the structural proteins of viruses, which assemble into virus-like particles (VLPs), are of great therapeutic importance. Here is a transmission electron microscope image of the Human Hepatitis B core antigen VLP.
The Wang lab seeks to understand how gene networks and expression dynamics affect genome instability, cancer and aging. The lab engineers mammalian cells to study mutations and gene expression perturbations.


Organic transistors are inherently soft and flexible. A new method to produce high quality thin films via solution shearing is being developed in the Bao lab to enable large-area, high performance devices.
Marja Mullings, a student in the Bent lab, displays an illuminated lithographically-patterned silicon wafer. This wafer is used as a master in the microcontact printing of self-assembled monolayers which serve as blocking materials in atomic layer deposition for applications in catalysis.
The Jaramillo lab studies CO2 electro-reduction to fuels such as methane, methanol, and formic acid. Tailoring catalysts to fit the chemistry is the primary challenge, and one approach is to use biomimetic organo-metallic complexes. Advanced imaging techniques such as Scanning Tunneling Microscopy are required to image these nanometer sized complexes.
The Swartz lab is working towards an organism that efficiently captures solar energy and converts it into hydrogen. The first task is to develop an oxygen-tolerant hydrogenase using cell-free technology to express libraries of mutated enzymes that can be rapidly screened for improved function.


The Bao lab uses advanced Dip-Pen Nanolithography for ultra high-resolution printing of molecular 'inks', enabling electrical contacts to single carbon nanotubes and other nano-scale devices.
Nid Methaapanon in the Bent lab studies the mechanism of atomic layer deposition of TiO2 films on silicon. Atomic layer deposition uses a series of self-limited reactions to enable sub-nanometer control of film thickness.
Research in the Frank lab aims to develop quantum dot-polypeptide assemblies to function as dual imaging/drug delivery agents. The QD-polypeptide assemblies have a fluorescent shell with a hollow core. The fluorescent shell allows imaging of the targeted cells while the drug molecules are released from the core.
The microstructure of polymeric and other complex materials cause them to respond to different flow conditions in unusual manners. A high-speed imaging setup allows us to quantify the flow profile of "rinsing flows". The Fuller lab is interested in the effect of rinsing off simple versus viscoelastic liquids.
The Shaqfeh lab explores different areas involving transport in complex fluids including the micro-dynamics of polymer molecules, including DNA, and the flow behavior of particulate suspensions. Their approach includes developing large scale simulations and then couple these to detailed experiments to elucidate the important physics in a variety of processes.



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