Solving Big Mysteries by Finding Small Clues
Single-molecule techniques open a new door to delineate the behavior of individual molecules to decode the mystery of biological processes with tremendous details. In particular, optical tweezers enable the precise manipulations on a single molecule to measure its real-time force responses and molecular extensions associated with conformational changes. Raman spectroscopy utilizes light to interact with the chemical bonds inside molecules to generate the vibrational spectra that are reflecting the molecular structures. Leveraging both tools, we are developing new single-molecule characterization methods to study the heterogenous molecular systems in biology and chemistry. Our research topics also include the folding, misfolding and aggregation of intrinsically disordered proteins; the small molecule-nucleic acid interactions; the protein-membrane interactions; the biomimetic and biocompatible materials; and the big data analysis in biophysical and bioanalytical chemistry.