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CeNS Colloquium

Kleiner Physik-Hörsaal N 020, Fakultät für Physik
Date: 18.10.2019, Time: 15:30h

Deconstructing biology with simple single-molecule imaging: Controlling conformation, confinement, and concentration

Prof. Sabrina Leslie, McGill University, Canada

Molecular biology is messy and complex. The future of life sciences research, drug development, and many other fields depends on the ability of physicists and engineers to unravel the complex, biophysical phenomena that underlie cellular function with a finer level of resolution. Using currently available technologies, it is still challenging to conduct quantitative measurements that can potentially reveal the true complexity of life at the molecular scale. In this talk, I will introduce Convex Lens-induced Confinement (CLiC) microscopy, a simple, general method to image molecular interactions one molecule at a time, while emulating “cell like” conditions, with precision and control. By mechanically confining molecules to the field of view, CLiC eliminates the complexity and potential biases inherent to “tethering” molecules, often used in standard methods. By visualizing the individual trajectories of many molecules at once, and for long time periods, CLiC allows us to investigate important biophysical questions about their behaviour, such as how higher-order structures in DNA molecular and a crowded environment can regulate the dynamic unwinding of specific target sites, and the kinetic rates of binding to these sites. Beyond new insights into the statistical mechanics of DNA, I will discuss key applications of our work to advancing medicine and biologics drug development. I will share new and emerging areas of exploration with CLiC, including visualizing protein aggregation, nanoparticle dynamics, CRISPR-Cas9 targeting dynamics, and therapeutics applications.