Cornell University

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Department of Physics Colloquium

Monday, November 12, 2018 at 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Rockefeller Hall, Schwartz Auditorium
Central Campus

General Physics Colloquium, Professor Michelle Wang, Cornell University

Refreshments from 3:30-3:50 pm

Title:  Torsional Consequences of DNA Motor Proteins

Host:  Prof. Jim Sethna

Abstract: Fundamental biological processes require the concurrent occupation of DNA by numerous motor proteins and complexes. Thus, collisions, congestion, and roadblocks are inescapable on these busy ‘molecular highways’. The consequences of these traffic problems are diverse, requiring complex cellular mechanisms to resolve threats to genome stability and ensure cellular viability. Additionally, the molecular highways are continuously and dynamically restructured during these processes, altering highway topology and ‘traffic’ flow. 

These alterations of DNA topology generate torsion, which can be present genome‐wide and significantly facilitate or inhibit gene expression. Historically, quantitative studies of torsion have been technically challenging, and our lab has developed real-time, single molecule techniques to decipher the actions of multiple players while also simultaneously allowing the ability to mechanically control, alter, and measure DNA topology. These single molecule precision measurements have enabled novel insights into the complex coordination of cellular machineries and the fundamental role of DNA mechanics and topology.

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Physics, Biomedical Engineering


cascal, physics


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Contact Name

Sue Sullivan

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Professor Michelle Wang

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Cornell University

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