Abstract: Recent advances at the intersection of nanofabrication and biotechnology exploit novel bionanomaterials to marry bottom-to-top self-assembly with top-down lithographic methods. In biotechnology, bionanomaterials include monoclonal antibodies as well as components of nanoscale drug delivery vectors. Structural measurements on bionanomaterials enable design and engineering of robust, reliable systems. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy is a structural biology method that is particularly powerful for nanoscale systems lacking long-range (crystalline) order, a regime in which many bionanomaterials fall. In this talk, I present contributions to advance EPR spectroscopy for bionanomaterials, highlighting our work to measure distances between cationic copper porphyrins bound to an unusual DNA structural element as well as efforts in instrumentation development to improve measurement of volume-limited samples.
Veronika A. Szalai joined NIST in 2010 and is currently a Research Chemist/Project Leader in the Biophysical and Biomedical Measurement Group. She received an A.B. in Chemistry from Bryn Mawr College and a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from Yale University, where her thesis work centered on biophysical chemistry measurements of water oxidation chemistry in photosynthesis. After completing post-doctoral work on DNA electrochemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Veronika advanced to the rank of tenured associate professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. During that time, she and her group elucidated the biophysical chemistry of copper and the amyloid peptide of Alzheimer's disease and developed methods to create guanine quadruplex-based DNA nanostructures. Her laboratory now focuses on advanced electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy and instrumentation development for measurements of biological nanostructures.