DNA Accumulation at Heated Air-Water Interfaces and the Origins of Life
With Prof. Dieter Braun at the LMU in Munich, I discovered that DNA, when placed in microscale channels filled with water, spontaneously accumulates at air-water interface (e.g. bubbles) when the system undergoes heating. This surprising discovery holds implications for the origins of life, as many theories of early evolution require biomolecules such as DNA to somehow accumulate to chemically relevant concentrations amidst a lifeless Earth.
Input-Output Functions to Describe Gene Regulatory Networks
With Elizabeth Eck at UC Berkeley, I am developing an input-output function description of gene regulatory networks in the context of the developing fruit fly embryo. By experimentally measuring both transcription factor (i.e. input) concentrations and transcription activity (i.e. output), we can compare our data with various theoretical descriptions and constrain the space of possible classes of models. Unlike previous work, which mainly relies on static data taken at fixed timepoints in embryonic development, our experiments capture the full spatiotemporal dynamics of the system, resulting in a much more accurate description of the network.
Thermodynamic Models of Transcription Initiation
With Elizabeth Eck at UC Berkeley, I am studying the dynamics of transcription onset in the P2P enhancer system of the fruit fly embryo. More to come later.