Elias PuchnerAssociate Professor, School of Physics and Astronomy
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Research & Teaching
Publications & Awards
Ph.D. (summa cum laude), University of Munich, 2008
Dipl. Phys. (M.S.), University of Munich, 2006
Assistant Professor, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Minnesota, 2014-present
Postdoc, University of California, San Francisco, 2014
Session chair, Winter q-bio Conference, Hawaii, 2014
Guest editor FEBS, 2013-2014
Postdoc, University of Munich, 2010
Publication price Center for NanoScience, Munich, 2008 and 2010
Reviewer activities: NSF, ACS Nano, Biophysical Journal, Journal of Molecular Biology, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Analytical Chemistry, Journal of Molecular Recognition.
Our lab employs and further develops modern biophysical techniques to study cellular processes with high precision and detail.
Living cells have the remarkable ability to sense environmental signals such as physical force or small molecules. This information is processed by intracellular signaling networks, which allow a cell to respond to the stimulus. Our research at the intersection of physics and biology aims to understand how these cellular signaling processes are regulated on different hierarchical length-scales by employing and further developing single molecule and super-resolution microscopy techniques.
On a mesoscopic length scale signaling proteins can self-assemble to complexes and intracellular organelles. We employ recently developed quantitative super-resolution microscopy to resolve these structures inside cells below the optical diffraction limit and to measure their biomolecular composition. This characterization allows to detect changes as organelles mature and to follow spatial re-arrangements of signaling proteins in response to stimuli. A particular focus of our lab is to investigate if and how such spatial re-arrangements can modulate the signaling strength of pathways.
On the nanoscopic length scale the activity of individual proteins can be regulated by conformational changes that are induced by binding reactions, covalent modifications or physical force. Such conformational changes that take place on a nm length scale and involve forces in the piconewton range can be dynamically investigated with atomic-force microscopy (AFM) based single molecule force spectroscopy.
Postdoctoral research fellowship, German Research Foundation, 2010-2012
Attocube Wittenstein Research Award, 2008