V. Adrian Parsegian
Motivated to understand biological structures through the physical forces that animate them, we measure force versus separation between molecules from all classes of bio-matter. The same "osmotic stress" strategy used for forces between molecules allows us to move the parts of single molecules to change the conformation of molecules such as ionic channels. We observe the formation of ordered molecular assemblies, "liquid crystals" of molecules such as collagen, DNA, or lipids. Their energies of assembly can be measured and used to realize the connection between molecular force, organization, and dynamics.