ECpE Seminar Series with Anwesha Sarkar: Single Molecule Interaction Forces and Biomolecular Characterization Using Atomic Force Microscopy

Date(s) - 4 Feb 2022
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

3043 ECpE Building Addition

Headshot photo of Anwesha SarkarSpeaker: Anwesha Sarkar, Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Iowa State University

Title: Single Molecule Interaction Forces and Biomolecular Characterization Using Atomic Force Microscopy

Abstract: Measurement of interaction forces and binding kinetics of ligand-receptor interactions on live cells at a single molecular level is extremely crucial for gaining novel biological insights, evaluating potential therapeutic agents for cancer and other diseases as well as for developing new drug delivery approaches. In this talk, I will discuss developing a biophysical method to isolate and measure specific interactions between Discoidin domain receptors (DDRs) which are overexpressed in cancer, fibrosis and other diseases and collagen (ligands of DDRs) in live cells at the single molecule level using atomic force microscopy (AFM). Another commonly over-expressed receptor in diseases which can be targeted in drug delivery by ligand-conjugated nanoparticles is the folate receptor alpha (FRα). In this regard, I will talk about measuring the binding dynamics of this receptor with self-assembled nanoparticles decorated with a folic acid (FA) ligand using AFM and proving that multivalent micelleplexes bind to FRα with a higher binding probability and binding force than monovalent FA. Quantitative nanomechanical property mapping of live cells is in the spotlight of biomedicine and biophysics as they can serve as early biomarkers of human diseases like cancer. In this context, I will summarize multimodal characterization of live colon cancer cells using Atomic Force Microscopy and Raman spectroscopy. While AFM-based characterization is critical for biological insights, AFM data analytics remains subjective and low-throughput in certain cases. Therefore, I have been exploring machine learning (ML) approaches to make AFM data analytics faster. I also propose an ML-guided AFM measurement of cell properties based on cell morphologies such as shapes (keeping the challenges of manual AFM experiments in mind).

Bio: Dr. Anwesha Sarkar received her undergraduate degree (B.Sc.) in Physics from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata, India in 2008, her Master of Science (M.Sc.) form Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, India in 2010 and a Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) degree from Institute of Physics (IOP) Bhubaneswar, India in 2011. She received her Ph.D. in Physics from Wayne State University, Michigan in 2015. She did her postdoc from the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Iowa State University (2016-2020). She joined as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Iowa State University in Fall 2020. Her main research interest is high resolution imaging, and nanomechanical property characterization of biomolecules and live cells as well as in the studies of interaction forces and binding kinetics of ligand-receptor systems at single molecule level on live cells using Atomic Force Microscopy. She is also exploring machine learning approaches for fast atomic force microscopy (AFM) data analytics.

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