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Atomic Force Microscopy: A versatile tool for biology

Thursday, November 07, 2013 — Poster Session II

12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

FAES Academic Center (Upper-Level Terrace)




  • E. K. Dimitriadis


Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is a non-optical microscopy that employs a sharp probe to trace topographical features at sub-nm resolution and probe with and measure forces down to a few pN. Biological samples require minimal preparation, need no special staining and can be examined under physiological buffer conditions. AFM can also be combined with other techniques, such as fluorescence or Raman spectroscopy, for co-localized observations. Furthermore, force spectroscopy can be used to map material properties at the nanoscale and to examine antigen-antibody binding events. We present a few typical applications of the technology including high resolution imaging of protein-DNA complexes (e.g. BRCA1 with DNA), co-localized AFM with fluorescence (e.g. fibrin fibers in a blood clot), lipid bilayer characterization and bilayer-protein interactions (e.g. RS1 on supported anionic lipid bilayers), and force spectroscopy to map elastic properties at high resolution (e.g. cartilage). The facility operates two instruments (Bruker), the Picoforce/Multimode and the Bioscope Catalyst. The latter is equipped with a micro-incubator for live cell/tissue experiments and with epi-fluorescence and TIRF optics with several laser lines that allows simultaneous registration of AFM and fluorescence images. The AFM facility is open to a wide range of collaborative projects.

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