Our Research Interests
Nature evolved to have the unbelievable capabilities to produce nanoscale machines with incredible accuracy and functionality. In Beck’s lab, we experimentally study the physical mechanism responsible for these fantastic capabilities. Using X-ray scattering, microscopy, spectroscopy, and other biophysical techniques, we target the nano length-scale biophysics. We further combine advancing theories originating from soft-matter and statistical mechanics physics for the study of various self-assembled systems in and out of thermal equilibrium. Examples include intrinsically disordered proteins, amphiphiles self-assembly, intermediate filaments, and myelin sheaths biophysics.
Membranes, such as the ones enclosing biological cells, are made of a bilayer of phospholipid molecules. Upon decreasing temperature the membrane may undergo a phase transition from a liquid to a crystalline solid. For membranes arranged in a spherical stack (a structure encountered in various natural and industrial scenarios) we found that the crystallization is delayed for a very long, yet sharply defined, time, as if the system is waiting for the transition with a clock. We used x-ray scattering, transmission electron microscopy, and analytical theory to investigate and account for this unusual meta-stability.