A Singular Focus

© Wolfgang Kumm / Corbis

A physicist looks at photosynthesis, replication, and viral entry, molecule by molecule.

By Antoine van Oijen

Article Extras

1 turned out to be an important one for me. It caught the attention of many researchers in the community, and was cited more than 200 times. More importantly it gave me a little bit of insight into biological systems. Even though I had limited interaction with biologists on this project - they simply delivered the samples they had prepared to me for analysis - it was the first time I'd been bitten by the biology bug. I applied for a postdoc position with a pioneer in the field of single-molecule microscopy, Sunney Xie at Harvard. Xie had started using single-molecule techniques to study biological systems at room temperature, arguably a more biologically relevant condition than 1°K.

My first encounter with biology had given...

1. A. van Oijen et al., "Unraveling the electronic structure of individual photosynthetic pigment-protein complexes," Science, 285:400-2, 1999.
2. J.B. Lee et al., "DNA primase acts as a molecular brake in DNA replication," Nature, 439:621-4, 2006.

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