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DNA Chainmail - Fellows Colloquium

DNA Chainmail: The Physics of DNA Knots

Friday, November 5, 2021
7:00pm via Zoom

DNA is best known as the carrier of genetic information, but its properties make it suited for the study of materials. Many modern materials are made of long stringy molecules called polymers, but most synthetic polymers are too small to study one molecule at a time. DNA is a very big naturally occurring polymer, and has been used as an experimental system to study the physics of polymers.

Dr. Klotz will discuss his work in this field, starting with an exploration of the physics of knots in DNA, which led him to his more recent work: the DNA of a parasite that is entirely knots, made of thousands of loops linked together like chainmail armor. Much like regular DNA has allowed us to learn more about polymers, these membrane-like DNA chainmail structures can tell us about the physics of a new class of emerging two-dimensional materials.

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About the Presenter

Alex Klotz

Dr. Alex Klotz

Alex Klotz grew up in Toronto and received a bachelor's degree in physics from Queen's University, and a master's and Ph.D. in physics from McGill University in Montreal. He worked in the chemical engineering department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before starting in the physics department at CSULB in 2019, where he was recently the recipient of the Mayfield Award for Outstanding Teaching.

When not in the classroom or the lab, you may find him biking up Signal Hill or the San Gabriel riverbed.

Alex Klotz website

Dr. Alex Klotz is an Assistant Professor in the Physics and Astronomy Department.