2015 BFY II Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Using Tethered Particle Motion Experiments in Statistical Mechanics or Biophysics Labs
Abstract: We propose the adoption of two biophysics labs for undergraduate education in either the modern or advanced laboratory. Biophysics is a field that is rapidly growing at many institutions, and biophysics labs like the ones described here will develop a student's ancillary skills in biochemistry, microscopy, and computational analysis, in addition to providing an opportunity to sample physics research. The two biophysics labs are based on tethered particle motion (TPM). Tethered particle motion involves using video microscopy to track the 2-D position of a polystyrene bead tethered to the surface by a DNA molecule. The bead will be undergoing Brownian motion, and the standard deviation of that Brownian motion over time is correlated to the length of the tether. For the first lab, students will prepare the single molecule assay using molecular biology techniques, important in interdisciplinary research. Then in the second lab, they will use video microscopy to record the position of the bead over time, write a program to analyze the data, and experimentally determine the length of their DNA tether. Tethered particle motion has a wide variety of research applications ranging from rheology to the mechanics of DNA compaction, and is relatively simple for undergraduate students to set up and execute.
Abstract Type: Poster

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Adam D. Smith
Amherst College
Merrill Science Center
Amherst College
Amherst, MA 01002
Phone: (630) 632-9545
and Co-Presenter(s)
Obinna A. Ukogu, Amherst College
Ashley R. Carter, Amherst College

Presentation Documents

Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster