PhD Defense by Joshua Brockman

Event Details
  • Date/Time:
    • Friday May 29, 2020 - Saturday May 30, 2020
      10:00 am - 11:59 am
  • Location: REMOTE
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Summary Sentence: Mapping the 3D Orientation and Nanoscale Distribution of Piconewton Receptor Forces

Full Summary: No summary paragraph submitted.

Joshua Brockman

BME PhD Thesis Defense


Date: May 29th, 2020

Time: 10:00AM

Zoom Link: 

Meeting ID: 995 3877 0192

Password: 848358


Advisor: Khalid Salaita, PhD


Committee Members:

Yonggang Ke, PhD

Alexa Mattheyses, PhD (University of Alabama, Birmingham)

Phil Santangelo, PhD

Cheng Zhu, PhD


Title: Mapping the 3D Orientation and Nanoscale Distribution of Piconewton Receptor Forces


Abstract: Molecular forces are vital to many biological systems including hemostasis, immune function, development, and cell-cell communication. The tools currently available to measure cellular forces are incapable of quantifying the 3D orientation and nanoscale distribution of piconewton receptor forces. To address this technological gap, this thesis describes the development of two mechanoimaging techniques, Molecular Force Microscopy (MFM) and tension-Point Accumulation for Imaging in Nanoscale Topography (tPAINT). The first technique, MFM, combines DNA-based molecular tension probes with fluorescence polarization microscopy to measure the 3D orientation of pN molecular forces. MFM revealed that platelets contract anisotropically, a feature missed by previous traction force microscopy measurements, and suggested that integrin forces within focal adhesions are aligned with force-transducing proteins such as talin, linking focal adhesion structure to integrin forces. The second technique, tPAINT, enables single molecule localization microscopy of receptor force events by converting DNA-based molecular tension probes into force-triggered switches that recruit fluorophores only when experiencing pN receptor force. tPAINT enabled measurement of dynamic receptor forces with ~25nm resolution. tPAINT imaging of platelet lamellipodial forces linked these forces with a peripheral ring of actin, demonstrating the capability to link receptor forces to the protein structures that produce them. MFM and tPAINT provide new capabilities to interrogate mechanobiology, and may offer a route to link structural biology and receptor mechanics.

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In Campus Calendar

Graduate Studies

Invited Audience
Public, Graduate students
Phd Defense
  • Created By: Tatianna Richardson
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  • Created On: May 18, 2020 - 1:46pm
  • Last Updated: May 18, 2020 - 1:46pm