The Meiners Lab studies the dynamics of DNA in vitro and in vivo. We are interested in understanding the physical principles that allow DNA to move and form larger assemblies with proteins to fulfill its biological function.
We ask questions such as whether the motion of DNA in living cells is primarily passive Brownian motion, or actively driven by molecular motors. We are also interested in the mechanics of genetic switches, and whether genes can be turned on through mechanical tension in the genomic DNA.
To answer these questions, we are using a mix of optics-based biophysical techniques, such as optical tweezers or fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, that we further develop and modify for our purposes. In addition, we use extensive computer simulations to complement and understand our experimental results.