John Giannini '12 and Kurt Andresen present posters at the 56th Annual Biophysical Society Meeting

John Giannini ’12 and Prof. Kurt Andresen presented posters at the Biophysical Society on Wednesday, February 29th at the 56th annual biophysical society meeting in San Diego California.

John Giannini's Poster: ELUCIDATING THE ROLE OF IONS IN DNA CONDENSATION: MEASUREMENTS OF THE ION ATMOSPHERE SURROUNDING CONDENSED DNA PELLETS USING INDUCTIVELY-COUPLE PLASMA ATOMIC EMISSION SPECTROSCOPY

John presented on ways that DNA condenses (or clumps up) in different salt solutions. In particular, he presented on our measurements of the interaction between the strong negative charge that DNA has and the positive charge of the small ions we add to the solution, and how this leads to condensed (clumpy) DNA. This has implications for (among other things) developing drugs that target DNA, how DNA might pack into viruses, and how any charged molecules interact in aqueous (water-based) solutions.

nucleosomeKurt Andresen's Poster: ELUCIDATING MECHANISMS OF NUCLEOSOME AGGREGATION: LOW RESOLUTION STRUCTURE STUDIES OF A VARIETY OF NUCLEOSOME CORE PARTICLE CONSTRUCTS AS A FUNCTION OF CHANGING ION CONDITION

In our bodies, we have a lot of DNA (around 6 feet per cell) packed into a very small space (1 micrometer in diameter or 1/100th the diameter of a human hair). A major mode of packing is the nucleosome (picture included) where the DNA is wrapped like thread around a “spool” made of protein. With collaborators at George Washington and Purdue, I used x-rays to study what this thread-spool combination looks like when we make different modifications to the spool or change the environment (e.g. salts) around the nucleosome. This is important as these nucleosomes are considered a possible target for treating diseases by turning genes on and off.