Experimental Molecular Biophysics
Our focus is the experimental investigation of the dynamics of single molecules inside biological systems using optical tools as well as x-ray and neutron scattering.
Dynamics is essential to the survival of the cell, which is a biological unit in permanent evolution, and which has to be able to process and react to information. Dynamical processes inside the cell happen on a very wide range of length and time-scales, and are governed by complex and intricate rules and mechanisms. At the scale of the molecule, they are of interest for the physicist as well as for the biologist, since they involve basic transformation of chemical or thermal energy into mechanical energy. In order to unravel their exact mechanisms, in vivo quantitative measurements at the single molecule level are required, which recent developments in the domain of fluorescence microscopy and single molecule detection now gives us the opportunity to do.
Motions and conformational changes of proteins, pore formation in lipid membranes, swimming bacteria.
Dear prospective trainee,
students in my group are carried out experimental research at the frontier between physics and the life sciences. The main focus of our research is single molecule dynamics, that is the motions and conformational changes that biomolecules undergo while carrying out their function. It entails observing molecules both in isolation (single molecule work) and when part of a larger unit (the cell), using a range of different biophysical techniques.
Since I started at McMaster in 2001, I have supervised or co-supervised 2 post-doctoral fellows, 6 Ph.D students, 7 M.Sc. students and countless undergraduate students. Trainees in my group may have Physics, Chemistry, Life Sciences or Engineering degres, and in fact working as part of a team with different scientific background is one of the thing I enjoy most about my work.
As a research supervisor I am committed to the education and growth of every trainee in the group, whether your goal is a carrier in academia or just the opportunity to learn a little bit about Biophysics over the summer. I believe this can be achieved through research projects that are both relevant and well-defined, access to state-of-the-art equipment, close collaborations with researchers in the life sciences, regular meetings between supervisor (me) and trainee (you), a supportive group atmosphere, and the opportunity to attend summer schools and conferences.
Do not hesitate to contact me or anybody else in the group for more information.