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single-molecule force spectroscopy

Optical tweezers: with a tandem traps we can pull apart DNA protein chimeric constructs. On the right is a DNA hairpin with a soft unfolding barrier. The DNA is held by μm beads in optical traps produced by a high power IR laser. FECs are produced with ultra-stable force and microfluidic control of the environment.


The digestive enzyme pepsin and its inactive precursor pepsinogen, which contains an additional prosegment (PS) domain that spans its active site, serve as an excellent model system to study unfolding resistance: pepsin is unusually stable and unfolds on the order of months, whereas pepsinogen unfolds in minutes.

Amyloid fibrils

sample electron micrographs of fibrils

Welcome to Derek Dee’s Lab

We study protein biophysics at the single molecule level, amyloid fibrils derived from plant proteins and nanomaterials developed from such proteins.