Michelle D. Wang
Professor of Physics
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator
B.S., 1985, Physics, Nanjing University. Ph.D. student, 1985-86, Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences. M.S, 1988, Physics, University of Southern Mississippi. Ph.D., 1993, Biophysics, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Postdoctoral Fellow, Biophysics, Princeton University, 1994-97. Assistant Professor, Physics, Cornell University, 1998-2004. Associate Professor, Physics, Cornell University, 2004-2009. Professor, Physics, Cornell University, 2009-present. Outstanding Student Award, Nanjing University, 1985. University of Michigan Biophysics Fellowship, 1988-89. National Cancer Institute Fellowship, 1994. Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1995-97. Damon Runyon Scholar Award, 1999-00. Dale F. and Betty Ann Frey Scholar of the Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Foundation, 1999. Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, 1999-01. Beckman Young Investigator Award, 1999-02. Keck Foundation Distinguished Young Scholar in Medical Research Award, 2000-07. Provost's Award for Distinguished Scholarship, 2008. Fellow, American Physical Society, elected 2009. Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, 2008-present.
Single molecule mechanical manipulations of biological molecules; high-resolution optical trapping and detection; single molecule fluorescence imaging and detection; nanophotonics and lab-on-a-chip; molecular motor mechanisms; biopolymer kinetics and dynamics; protein-DNA interactions (especially those involved in gene expression); genomics; modeling of diffusion, kinetics, and dynamics of biomolecules
We are a single molecule biophysics lab. We develop state-of-the-art optical trapping techniques to probe the motions and dynamics of molecular motors that translocate along DNA, as well as the regulation of these motions by the presence of other proteins that interact with the same DNA substrate. We also develop theoretical models to elucidate the mechanism of the molecular motors based on thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. Here we'll highlight a couple of novel experimental approaches that we have recently developed.
We have developed the unzipping technique as a versatile and powerful single-molecule method to explore protein-DNA interactions. A single DNA double helix is unzipped in the presence of DNA-binding proteins using a feedback-enhanced optical trap. When the unzipping fork in a DNA reaches a bound protein molecule, we observe a dramatic increase in the tension in the DNA, followed by a sudden tension reduction. Analysis of the unzipping force throughout an unbinding event reveals information about the precise spatial location and dynamic nature of the protein-DNA complex.
Shanna Fellman, Robert Forties, Jun Lin, Jie Ma, Thibault Roland, Mohammad Soltani, Bo Sun and Yi Yang
Lucy Brennan, James Inman, Jessie Killian, Ming Li, Summer Saraf and Maxim Sheinin