In higher organisms, DNA replication occurs at many places simultaneously. Recently, experiments have allowed one to observe individual replicated and non-replicated domains at various times during the replication process. We have constructed a stochastic model of the replication process that allows us to extract information about the initiation of replication domains and their subsequent behaviour. Our current work focusses on several aspects:
The electrical conductivity of DNA is interesting for many reasons, both fundamental and applied. We have been developing techniques involving conducting-probe AFM and break junctions to probe the electrical properties of DNA. More to come!
The atomic force microscope has proven to be one of the most powerful and useful tools in nanotechnology. One limitation is that current commercial instruments are slow, with typical line-scan rates of 10 Hz or less. We are exploring various ways to speed up this rate. Projects include:
FCS and variants
For our teaching program, we developed a fluorescence correlation spectrometer for measuring diffusion constants. We are currently exploring extensions to novel ways to trap single molecules based on force feedback.