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Clarkson University's Maria Gracheva Edits Nanopore Book
Clarkson University Assistant Professor of Physics Maria E. Gracheva has edited a book and co-written an article about her research on nanopores.
Gracheva joined the faculty at Clarkson in 2008 after working with the University of Illinois on a National Institute of Health-funded project involving nanopores and DNA sequencing.
"Nanopores are tiny holes in cell membranes which are used for ion and biomolecule transport in and out of cells. We study nanopores in artificial semiconductor membranes with a goal of creating solid state sensors for different biomolecules, including ultra-fast DNA sequencing devices," said Gracheva. "This is of great interest for medicine, but so far all methods of extracting the sequences have been very expensive and time consuming. It costs about $10 million and a month to get the full genome. This obviously restricts research."
Gracheva uses nanopores to bring down the cost and the time to gain the same knowledge.
"I electronically thread a DNA molecule through the nanopore. I do computer simulations of membranes and record information from each nucleotide of DNA," she said. "The vision is to get personalized medicine and preventative medicine for you. The uses of this technology are unlimited."
Humana Press asked her to put together a book on nanopore technology, featuring experts from different research groups. She wrote a chapter as well. The book, Nanopore-Based Technology, is part of the prestigious Springer Protocols series, under Methods in Molecular Biology, volume 870.
“This volume covers single molecule characterization techniques utilizing biological pores, methods for biomolecule characterization with nanoporous artificial membranes, computational studies of the biomolecule confined within the nanopore environment, as well as techniques that use novel materials in conjunction with nanopore sensing,” she wrote in a description about it.
Additionally, Gracheva and some colleagues co-wrote an article highlighted in a Nanotechnology Journal editorial. This piece is about “slowing down and stretching out DNA with an electrically tunable nanopore.” The fact that it was highlighted “means that our research has been recognized by the editor as making significant contribution to science,” she pointed out.
Her current research on multilayered solid state membranes is funded by the NSF. Advanced computations are performed using the NSF funded XSEDE network.
Gracheva works in the Clarkson Physics Department with Research Assistant Professor Dmitriy Melnikov, graduate student I-ning Amy Jou, visiting (summer) international student Anna Nadtochiy (from Moscow State University, the “Harvard of Russia”) and Clarkson Honors Program student Chris McKinney.
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[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/gracheva.jpg .]