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Materials Research Institute



Joint Seminar Series with Professor Felix Rico, 'Advances in AFM Force Measurements'

Image: Felix Rico, Associate Professor Aix-Marseille University
Felix Rico, Associate Professor Aix-Marseille University

Date: 28 April 2021   Time: 15:00 - 16:00

Professor Felix Rico, Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, INSERM, presents 'Advances in AFM Force Measurements' as part of our Joint Engineering MRI, IoB, Colloids Seminar Series. Meeting is via MS Teams

Abstract: High-speed atomic force microscopy (HS-AFM) is a unique technology allowing sub-second, nanometric imaging of biological samples [1]. We have adapted HS-AFM to perform high-speed force spectroscopy (HS-FS) both on single molecules and living cells with microsecond time resolution. With increasing speeds it is also time to revisit assumptions of normal operation that were considered relatively safe before – is Reynolds number still low?, is viscosity constant, should we worry about inertial terms? In this talk, I will describe the characteristics of modern high-speed AFM and the theoretical models used to understand molecular force interactions from AFM measurements. I will also cover applications for biomolecular interactions we have carried out in our lab and end with where the potential is for such measurements in the near future [2–6]. HS-FS opens an avenue to better understand the mechanics of proteins and cells at previously inaccessible short timescales, and to address long standing and emerging questions.

1. T. Ando, N. Kodera, E. Takai, D. Maruyama, K. Saito, and A. Toda, "A high-speed atomic force microscope for studying biological macromolecules," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 98, 12468–12472 (2001).

2. F. Rico, L. Gonzalez, I. Casuso, M. Puig-Vidal, and S. Scheuring, "High-Speed Force Spectroscopy Unfolds Titin at the Velocity of Molecular Dynamics Simulations," Science 342, 741–743 (2013).

3. H. Takahashi, F. Rico, C. Chipot, and S. Scheuring, "?-Helix Unwinding as Force Buffer in Spectrins," ACS Nano 12, 2719–2727 (2018).

4. F. Rico, A. Russek, L. González, H. Grubmüller, and S. Scheuring, "Heterogeneous and rate-dependent streptavidin–biotin unbinding revealed by high-speed force spectroscopy and atomistic simulations," PNAS 116, 6594–6601 (2019).

5. C. Valotteau, F. Sumbul, and F. Rico, "High-speed force spectroscopy: microsecond force measurements using ultrashort cantilevers," Biophys Rev (2019).

6. A. Rigato, A. Miyagi, S. Scheuring, and F. Rico, "High-frequency microrheology reveals cytoskeleton dynamics in living cells," Nat Phys 13, 771–775 (2017).

Bio: Felix Rico has been Associate Professor in the Department of Physics of Aix-Marseille University since 2013. His research in force microscopy is developed at the LAI U1067, a joint Aix-Marseille University, CNRS & Inserm laboratory. He studied Physics at the University Autonoma of Barcelona and received his PhD in Biophysics from the University of Barcelona.

Before moving to Marseille, he was postdoc at the University of Miami (FL) and then at Institut Curie (Paris). He has been working in force measurements with atomic force microscopy (AFM) since 2001, focusing on the mechanics and adhesion properties of biological systems. He has developed various AFM based approaches to investigate the mechanical response of single molecules, membranes and cells. Recently, he adapted high speed AFM (HS-AFM) to work as a force spectroscopy tool, probing the mechanics and dynamics of single biomolecules and living cells at the microsecond timescales.

Location:  MS Teams
Contact:  Stoyan Smoukov

Updated by: Colin J Rainey