SPIE/Optica Student Chapter

University Of Wisconsin — Madison

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External Speaker - Philip Kukura

Philip Kukura University of Oxford Department of Chemistry

Talk Title: Unravelling biomolecular structure, interactions and dynamics with mass photometry

Interactions between biomolecules control the processes of life, and their malfunction in disease, making their characterization and quantification essential to our understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms. A major challenge stems from the intrinsic heterogeneity and dynamics of molecular machines and its correlation with function. I will introduce mass photometry (MP), the accurate and precise mass measurement by light scattering, which enables the study of stoichiometries, structure, energetics and kinetics of individual biomolecules in solution. These capabilities provide a dynamic view of complex processes at the macromolecular level, which I will illustrate with recent results revealing the molecular dynamics driving protein polymerization, and the importance of intermolecular interactions for viral infection and therapeutic intervention.

Philipp Kukura is a Professor of Chemistry and Fellow of Exeter College at the University of Oxford. He received an MChem from the University of Oxford (2002) and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley (2006). After postdoctoral work at ETH Zurich, he joined the Chemistry Department at the University of Oxford as Research Fellow (2010) before becoming a Lecturer (2011), and promotion to full Professor (2016). Honours and awards include the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award (2018), the Klung- Wilhelmy Science award in Chemistry (2018), the Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists UK in Chemistry (2019), and the Emil Thomas Kaiser Ward by the Protein Society (2022). He is the founder of Refeyn Ltd, which has commercialised and thereby enabled broad access to Mass Photometry. His current research focusses on the application of light microscopy combined with mass measurement at the single molecule level to study biomolecular structure and interactions.