We are interested in life processes that involve deformation and remodeling of membranes, such as membrane fusion. We currently focus on fusion of enveloped viruses, coronaviruses and Ebola, with their targets, as well as membrane fusion during fertilization. To gain mechanistic understanding into such processes, we probe the interactions between membranes and proteins, or between membrane-embedded proteins and their receptors, in bio-mimetic model systems and cells.
We use mechanical single-molecule techniques: Optical Tweezers in combination with confocal fluorescence microscopy and Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). These tools allow us to manipulate cells and vesicles and to characterize their interactions. By such quantitative measurements, we hope to contribute to the understanding of biological processes in which membranes play a central role.
Raya Sorkin, PhD.
School of Chemistry