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Biomedical Optics & Medical Imaging

Thomas Perkins: Atomic force microscopy measures properties of proteins and protein folding

Increasing precision measurements of biological molecules, such as enzymes and proteins, will have applications throughout biophysics and bioengineering.

4 March 2016, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/2.3201603.01

Thomas Perkins is a Fellow at JILA and Associate Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (adjoint) at the University of Colorado, Boulder (CU). He is also a physicist in the Quantum Physics Division at NIST, and a Task Force Member at the CU Biofrontiers Institute. He received his PhD at Stanford University in 1997.

His research focuses on single molecule measurements of biological systems. One outstanding question is: how do motor proteins transduce chemical energy into physical motion? Another is: how does the structure and dynamics of membrane proteins affect their functions? The Perkins lab specializes in developing and applying high-precision measurements using optical traps and atomic force microscopes to answer these and other interesting questions.