University of Washington

Nanopore Physics Lab

About Us

We are biophysicists pursuing single molecule measurements using a nanopore. In particular, we are working on a DNA sequencing method that would be fast and inexpensive.

The concept of nanopore sequencing is simple. DNA is driven through a tiny pore as the ionic current is measured. The traversing DNA modulates the ionic current and provides direct information about the structure of the DNA. Ideally (and naively) one would detect a distinct current level for each nucleotide passing through the pore.

The field of nanopore sequencing was founded using the well studied pore α-Hemolysin. We began our work using α-Hemolysin, but recently introduced a new biological pore to the playing field: Mycobacterium smegmatis porin A (MspA). This naturally occuring pore has an ideal shape for nanopore sequencing.

With the primary focus of nanopore DNA sequencing, our lab is studying the nano-scale dynamics of single-stranded DNA moving through MspA and developing new systems that may aid nanopore sequencing. In particular, we are investigating modifications to MspA that will make it more sensitive to individual nucleotides, studying more robust bilayers that will increase longevity of experiments, and developing systems to slow the passage of DNA through MspA.

Address: B033 Physics-Astronomy Building University of Washington 3910 15th Ave. NE Seattle, WA 98195-1560
Update: March 23, 2012