CHARISMA Member Profiles
Hagar ZoharPhD Student, Chemical EngineeringWebsite: CharISMA Idea Lab
Hagar Zohar attended the University of Michigan and is currently a third-year graduate student in the Muller lab in the Chemical Engineering department. She is working on single-molecule studies, primarily of DNA, in a microfluidic four-roll mill. Using the mill device, she hopes to study how hybridization rates of DNA with sequence-specific probes are influenced by flow type and flow strength. This is important as hybridization steps in lab-on-a-chip diagnostics are often the slowest and can be enhanced by varying flow. She has been excited about starting an idea lab for a long time!
Jeff MoffittPhD Student, PhysicsWebsite: Bustamante Lab
Jeff Moffitt is a sixth-year graduate student in the physics department with a background in experimental and theoretical physics. His research in the Bustamante lab is focused on the mechanism by which chemical energy released in the hydrolysis of ATP is converted into mechanical work by the ring packaging motor of the bacteriophage phi29. Because this motor is a pentameric ring of identical ATPase subunits, several interesting and unique mechanistic questions arise. For example, how are the individual hydrolysis cycles of the identical subunits coordinated and how are conformational changes within each subunit transmitted into motion of the DNA? By measuring the discrete increments of DNA translocated by this motor and the stochastic variability in the time it waits between packaging steps, these questions can be answered.
Anna LabnoPhD Student, BiophysicsWebsite: Xiang lab
Anna Labno has just joined the biophysics group after graduating from
MIT (June 2007) with a degree in Biology and Physics and minor in
Biological Engineering. During her time at MIT, she worked on
theoretical and experimental understanding of atmospheric plasma
physics wave phenomena (Min-Chang Lee's Lab, MIT Plasma Science and
Fusion), characterization of standard biological parts (Drew Endy's
Lab, MIT), protein crystallization (Werner Kühlbrandt's lab, MPI for
Biophysics, Germany) and finally has studied the mechanism of kinesin
movement using optical tweezers (Matt Lang's Lab, MIT). She is now
working on single-molecule studies and super resolution imaging
techniques utilizing plasmonics and near field optics phenomena.
Craig HetheringtonPhD Student, PhysicsWebsite: Bustamante Lab
Craig Hetherington is a graduate student in Physics in the Bustamante Lab. He uses single-molecule methods like laser tweezers and single-molecule fluorescence to study a molecular motor that moves along DNA, exerting up to
70 pN of force in the process. In particular, he is interested in the mechanical interactions between the protein and the DNA, and in the mechanical interactions between regulatory factors and the motor protein. He is also interested in polarization-sensitive single-molecule TIRF microscopy.
Chris MonsonPhD Student, ChemistryWebsite: Majda Lab
Chris Monson got a BS from BYU in 2003, doing research in DNA-
templated nanowires. His current research in the Majda group in the
Chemistry Department focuses on using biomolecules to tether magnetic
beads to glass surfaces in a sensor setup.