PhD in experimental biophysics, University of Illinois, Chicago, USA (2005)
PhD, Institute of Theoretical Physics of CAS, China (1998)

Office : S16-07-01  |  Tel : (65) 6516 2620
Email : phyyj@nus.edu.sg

Current Research

Our research is based on advanced single-molecule manipulation and imaging technologies. Current research interests include:

  • Molecular mechanisms of mechanosensing of cells
  • Interfering mechanosensing of cells using compounds
  • DNA packaging, gene regulation and DNA damage repair
  • Bacterial biofilm initiation and maintenance

Schematic representation of a magnetic tweezers setup to stretch short DNA molecules or proteins. (A) The DNA or protein is tethered between a paramagnetic bead and a coverslip surface. Force is applied to the bead by a pair of permanent magnets above the sample, and changing the distance between the magnets and the bead controls the magnitude of the force over a range from 0.1 pN to 200 pN. A bead stuck on the surface is used as a reference to eliminate drift in three dimensions. (B) Schematic representation of the application of the instrument to study interaction between a short DNA and a DNA bending protein. Association and disassociation of the protein lead to change in DNA extension which is monitored by the change in the height of the bead at a sub-nanometer resolution in real time.

Selected Publications

  1. Le et al., “Mechanotransmission and Mechanosensing of Human alpha-Actinin 1”, Cell Reports 21 (10), 2714-2723 (2017).

  2. Yu, Yuan et al., “mDia1 senses both force and torque during F-actin filament polymerization”, Nat. Commun. 8 (1), 1650 (2017).

  3. Yuan et al., “Elasticity of the Transition State Leading to an Unexpected Mechanical Stabilization of Titin Immunoglobulin Domains”, Angewandte Chemie 129 (20), 5582-5585 (2017).

  4. Yao, Goult et al., “The mechanical response of talin,” Nat. Commun. 7, 11966 (2016).

  5. Chen, Yuan et al., “Dynamics of equilibrium folding and unfolding transitions of titin immunoglobulin domain under constant forces”, JACS 137, 3540 (2015).

  6. You et al., “Stability and Kinetics of c-MYC Promoter G-Quadruplexes Studied by Single-Molecule Manipulation”, JACS 137, 2424 (2015).

  7. Zhang et al., “Interconversion between three overstretched DNA structures”, JACS 136, 16073 (2014).

  8. Yao et al., “Force-dependent conformational switch of alpha-catenin controls vinculin binding”, Nat. Commun. 5, 4525 (2014).

Affiliations & Links