Date(s) - 06/03/2009
11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Title: Probing forces in biological systems
Speaker: Dr. Nancy Forde – Simon Fraser University
Institute: Simon Fraser University
Location: ABB 162
In the past decade, the ability to manipulate and measure forces exerted by single biological molecules has transformed our understanding of their mechanical response, stability, and the mechanisms by which they operate. One of the key tools in this revolution has been optical tweezers, which use a focused laser beam to â??trapâ? (hold stably in three dimensions) micrometer-sized refractive particles. In this talk, I will describe how optical tweezers work and how they can be used to manipulate and probe the mechanical response of single DNA and protein molecules. We wish to extend these measurements to probing mechanical response on protein-based elastomeric materials, for which we have built and calibrated a holographic optical tweezers instrument. Finally, Iâ??ll briefly discuss our recent work on molecular motors, in which Monte Carlo simulations of a deoxyribozyme-based molecular â??spiderâ? are providing insight into the parameters required for efficient nanoscale motor operation.