Laboratory of Physics of Living Matter

The research activity of the laboratory of physics of living matter is mainly devoted to the study of DNA topology, cellular machines, protein mechanics and high-resolution low temperature Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). Through internal and external collaborations, a certain number of other research activities are carried out in particular on knots hydrodynamics, DNA gel electrophoresis, cell elasticity, cell motility, etc.

The DNA topology activity is mainly centered on the statistical physics of linear and knotted DNA and the scaling exponents for linear DNA were recently determined by AFM. Concerning the protein mechanics we have developed a new method to determine the spring constant of a single protein by AFM. Cellular machines, like chaperonin, are studied at the single molecule level with the aim of understanding their detailed function.

High resolution AFM at low temperature (liquid nitrogen temperature) is under development in our laboratory. This technique relies on the fact that polymers (such as proteins or DNA) becomes stiff as the temperature is lowered, thus we expect an increase in resolution for the AFM.

Research interests

  • AFM-based Single Molecule Force Spectroscopy
  • Protein interaction studied with the Atomic Force Microscope
  • Cryo-AFM, Atomic Force Microscope at low temperature
  • Static and dynamic properties of DNA knots
  • Direct measurement of the spring constants of single molecules and molecular complex
  • Topoismerase II activity and its interaction with DNA
  • Single Molecule Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer Scanning Near-field Optical Microscopy (FRET SNOM)

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