FIP Virtual Seminar "From single molecules to live cells: Imaging nucleic acid-protein interactions across scales"

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Wed, 04/14/2021 - 12:00 to 13:00

Dr. David Rueda


Dr. David S. Rueda, Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Infectious Disease, Chair of Molecular and Cellular Medicine, Imperial College of London


Understanding how nucleic acids and proteins interact to regulate key cellular processes requires the ability to observe these interactions directly. The dynamic nature of many nucleic acid-protein interactions makes it challenging to study them with traditional bulk methods. Biochemical, molecular or cellular biology approaches yield ensemble- or population-averaged results, which may conceal key short-lived or low populated intermediates on the reaction pathway. To overcome the averaging problem, our group develops and applies single-molecule microscopy (SMM) approaches to monitor such interactions in real-time. SMM has become increasingly important in studies of nucleic acid-protein interactions because these techniques provide access to crucial information on how individual molecules or complexes behave in bulk solution and in live cells, revealing the underlying structural dynamics and heterogeneity in the system.  We will present our data investigating some of these interactions on a specific model enzyme that plays key role in essential cellular processes and biotechnology: CRISPR-Cas9. We will also present our recent efforts to image RNA molecules in live and fixed mammalian cells with fluorogenic RNA aptamers (Mango).

Professor Rueda received his bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, and his doctor of science degree in Physical Chemistry, from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland. After his DSc, he moved to the University of Michigan for a postdoc in Single Molecule Biophysics. He then worked as an assistant professor in the Chemistry department of Wayne State University, where got tenure. In 2012, he moved his laboratory to Imperial college London as a full professor. He works at the interface of Physics, Chemistry, and Biology, and is interested in how nucleic acids interact with proteins to carry out biological functions.