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Bioengineering Seminar Fall 2020:Making and measuring macromolecular machines
November 18, 2020 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Zev Bryant, Associate Professor of Bioengineering and (by courtesy) of Structural Biology, Stanford University
Molecular machines lie at the heart of biological processes ranging from DNA replication to cell migration. We use single-molecule tracking and manipulation to characterize the structural dynamics of these nanoscale assemblies, and further challenge our understanding by designing and testing structural variants with novel properties that expand the functional range of known biomolecular machines. In the process, we are developing an engineering capacity for molecular motors with tunable and dynamically controllable physical properties, providing a toolkit for precise perturbations of mechanical functions. We have recently developed a new generation of light-responsive cytoskeletal motors, enabling precise control of fast and processive molecular transport in vitro and in living cells. We have also recently applied high-resolution multimodal single-molecule methods to study DNA interrogation by the CRISPR-Cas9 nuclease, observing intermediate steps in target recognition and probing important effects of DNA torsion on Cas9 dynamics and specificity.