Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Austin, Robert H.
Location Princeton University
Primary Field Physics
 Election Citation
Austin is a master at combining physical tools and theories with biochemical techniques to attack fundamental problems in protein and nucleic acid dynamics and function. His observations of single DNA molecules using microlithography led to an understanding of their physical properties which are important in biology and biotechnology.
 Research Interests
My research has spanned three areas: protein dynamics and conformational statistics, DNA dynamics and basepair sequence elastic variability, and applications of micro/nanofabrication technology to cellular and molecular biology. I am active in all three areas, which I find have many common themes. The protein dynamics work has expanded to the use of free-electron lasers to do time-resolved nonlinear IR dynamics. The micro-fabrication work has led to the invention of diffusional mixers used to study protein folding dynamics. The DNA dynamics work has proven vital in designing nanofabricated near-field scanners to be used in mapping single DNA molecules. The molecular biology and cellular biology work entails close collaboration with medical centers and molecular biologists, as I investigate ways to isolate rare cells from blood samples using a combination of microfluidics and cell surface biological markers.

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