Pan Lab

Membrane Biophysics

We are experimental biophysicists passionate about unraveling the mysteries of biological membranes. Our research journey revolves around the dynamic interplay between macromolecules and membranes, illuminated through the lenses of Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and Fluorescence Microscopy.

Our Research Focus:

  • Protein Aggregates and Lipid Membranes: We delve into the intricate interactions between protein aggregates, such as oligomers and fibrils, and lipid membranes. Through our work, we aim to unveil the secrets of how these entities engage and influence each other.
  • Peptidomimetics and Bacterial Membranes: We explore the fascinating realm of peptidomimetics—peptide mimics—that interact with bacterial membranes. This research opens doors to innovative approaches in antimicrobial strategies.
  • Amphipathic Peptides and Membrane Dynamics: Our investigations encompass the modulation of lipid membrane curvature and structure by amphipathic peptides. These tiny yet powerful molecules have the ability to reshape and redefine the very essence of membrane behavior.

Through the lens of biophysics, we seek to understand the fundamental principles that govern these biological interactions, ultimately contributing to our knowledge of the molecular world that underpins life itself.

Join us on this captivating journey of discovery as we unveil the secrets hidden within the membranes that surround us.

Research examples
Experimental Images Description
AFM phase Phase separation of lipid bilayers revealed by atomic force microscopy.
GUV phase Giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) acting as a platform for observing phase separation. The two images were obtained using fluorescence microscopy.
Aspiration Micropipette aspiration of giant unilamellar vesicles. This technique is useful to reveal kinetic impacts of active molecules on vesicle morphology and integrity.
Aggregates AFM images of different forms of amyloid aggregates.
bacteria Imaging bacterial morphology using atomic force microscopy.

 Research Support

NIH R03, Award number: 1R03NS135210-01 (09/08/2023 – 08/31/2025)

Title: Nanoscopic Membrane Modulations Induced by Nanoscale Oligomers 

NIH R15, Award number: 1R15GM117531-01 (12/01/2015 – 11/30/2019)

Title: Characterizing Interactions between Bacterial Membranes and Peptidomimetics for the Development of Antibiotics Targeting Multidrug Resistant Bacteria.