Molecular & Cellular Biophysics
Over the last few decades, structural biologists have delivered a treasure-trove of data on the shapes and sizes of large biomacromolecules and their assemblies. When this information is combined with the biochemistry and genetics to understand aspects of the kinetics and manipulate them, we can begin to ask questions about how structure impacts function dynamically at both the level of the individual molecule and in large aggregates of molecules such as polymeric filaments and membranes.
We are particularly interested in the statistical and continuum mechanics of macromolecular assemblies such as disordered cytoskeletal-like networks of actin and crosslinkers, ordered assemblies such as microtubules, actin bundles, DNA-loops etc. in the context of questions such as the linear and nonlinear rheology of these “living” materials”, the kinetics of growth and shrinkage, and the mechanochemistry of active biological engines driven by growth, shrinkage and spring-like behavior.
Recently, we have also become interested in how we might control the formation and dissolution of protein and liquid aggregates in the context of amyloid diseases, liquid-liquid phase separation, bringing in ideas from deterministic, stochastic, feedback and feedforward control theory to study these questions.