Everything in Biology is Mechanical

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Welcome to the Fernandez Lab: Biophysics of single proteins under force

The science of single molecules.  Discovering the biophysics of protein folding under a mechanical force. 

Our most recent work

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The power of titin folding

We have discovered that disulfide bonds act as power switches for protein folding.   Disulfide bonded titin domains can deliver thousands of zW of mechanical power.  See our recent paper on this topic just published in Cell Reports 

Cell Reports
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An electromagnetic head tweezers

We have built a novel magnetic tweezers design that allows us to apply an arbitrary force signal to single proteins with a bandwidth of~20 kHz.  Our recordings are obtained using a custom C++/Qt program  that clocks up to 1700 fps.  The results that we obtain are spectacular.  

PNAS
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Design for a mechanical antibiotic

We have designed small peptides that block the formation of isopeptide bonds in the pili of Gram positive pathogens.  We demonstrate that blocking isopeptide bonds in pili, weakens them mechanically.  Our aim is to perfect these peptides so that they can be used as antibiotics where intervened pili become easy prey for proteases, losing their grip on the host.    

PNAS