Building and Using the Molecular-Scale Laboratory
In the quest for molecular-level information, molecular-scale tools are a powerful and desirable scientific goal. Our research program is centered on the development of a new class of nanofabricated device based on nanopores.
In its simplest form, a nanopore is nothing more than a molecular-sized hole in an insulating membrane. Yet even in this configuration, it is capable of being used to detect and manipulate single molecules. With careful device engineering, it is possible to create powerful sensors for the detection of disease biomarkers at low levels early in the onset of disease, or of trace amounts of toxins, to name but two targets. Configured differently, nanopore-based devices can be used to probe the intermolecular interactions that underpin biological function: applications range from testing new pharmaceutical drug candidates to exploring the fundamental biophysics governing processes such as antibody-antigen recognition.
Our research program is focused on conceiving of, fabricating and then optimizing the nanopore devices that will make possible these challenging goals. We use the techniques and principles of nanofabrication, materials science, biophysics and analytical chemistry to design and create the molecular-scale tools that will allow us to sense and manipulate molecules one at a time.