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Hong Wang


Hong Wang obtained her Ph. D. in physics from the University of North Carolina in 2003 specializing in materials and biophysics. She then took a postdoctoral training from 2004-2008 in DNA repair and single-molecule imaging, at the U. S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Following this, she then served from 2008-2011 in a postdoctoral training in telomere biology and single-molecule imaging at the University of Pittsburgh. She joined the department of Physics in the fall of 2011 bring with her a highly competitive NIH grant.

Area(s) of Expertise

Her research focuses on single-molecule experimental investigations of the structure-function relationships that govern the maintenance of telomeres. Telomeres are nucleoprotein structures that cap the ends of linear chromosomes. Dysfunctional telomeres are important contributing factors in aging and tumorigenesis. Telomeric DNA sequences show a higher susceptibility to certain DNA damaging agents than random DNA sequences. The goal of her current research is to use two highly innovative and complementary single-molecule imaging techniques (atomic force microscopy and fluorescence imaging) together with quantum dot labeled proteins to investigate the effects of DNA damage on the conformational and dynamic properties of telomeric DNA structure and telomere binding proteins. She work concentrates on dynamic protein-DNA interactions in real time and at the single-molecule level using techniques developed by her group to perform a unique DNA tight-rope assay. This assay has enabled visualization of DNA in its extended form several micrometers above the surface and to observe movements of individual proteins with up to 17 nm positional accuracy and 50 ms temporal resolution using oblique-angle fluorescence microscopy.


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