U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Novel Microchip Enables Optical Observation of Single Molecules in Their Natural State
Published: February 05, 2003
Posted: February 17, 2003

Research at Cornell University has created a microchip that isolates individual biological macromolecules such as enzymes and enables observation of their behavior as they interact with other molecules, one at a time. The nanostructured chip has holes that constrain laser illumination to just 2500 cubic nanometers of the solution, such that only about one small soluble molecule and one molecule of the enzyme of interest are contained in it. A laser beam interrogates each hole, producing a fluorescence signal only when the enzyme is interacting with a small soluble molecule. The rate of this reaction can be followed in real time for each enzyme molecule, which enables a clearer understanding of the reaction than when only data averaged over many hundreds or thousands of molecules are available. The research, which is funded in part by the Genome Program in the Office of Biological & Environmental Research, is highlighted on the cover of the January 31, 2003, issue of Science. The principal investigators of the project, professors of engineering and applied physics Watt W. Webb and Harold Craighead, note that the technique may enable rapid genome sequencing using just a single molecule of DNA, reading strands of DNA tens of thousands of base pairs long. This would overcome a significant limitation of the best current techniques which only can sequence up to about 1000 base pairs at a time.

Contact: Roland F. Hirsch, SC-73, (301) 903-9009
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Genomic Analysis and Systems Biology
  • Research Area: Research Technologies and Methodologies

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER
      (formerly SC-73 Medical Sciences Division, OBER)

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

May 10, 2019
Quantifying Decision Uncertainty in Water Management via a Coupled Agent-Based Model
Considering risk perception can improve the representation of human decision-making processes in age [more...]

May 09, 2019
Projecting Global Urban Area Growth Through 2100 Based on Historical Time Series Data and Future Scenarios
Study provides country-specific urban area growth models and the first dataset on country-level urba [more...]

May 05, 2019
Calibrating Building Energy Demand Models to Refine Long-Term Energy Planning
A new, flexible calibration approach improved model accuracy in capturing year-to-year changes in bu [more...]

May 03, 2019
Calibration and Uncertainty Analysis of Demeter for Better Downscaling of Global Land Use and Land Cover Projections
Researchers improved the Demeter model’s performance by calibrating key parameters and establi [more...]

Apr 22, 2019
Representation of U.S. Warm Temperature Extremes in Global Climate Model Ensembles
Representation of warm temperature events varies considerably among global climate models, which has [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)