DNA Mechanics Lab

Welcome to the DNA Mechanics Lab website at Texas Tech University. Our research uses computational models to represent and understand the long length and time scale dynamics of DNA.

DNA is a very long flexible molecule. In fact, individual human DNA molecules span up to about 8 cm in length and only 2 nm in diameter. Because of its length, a DNA is very flexible and can twist and wrap around itself in response to cellular processes. During transcription, for example, RNA polymerase not only generates supercoils but responds to the level of supercoiling. The bending, twisting, looping, and supercoiling of DNA plays a role in a variety of processes including: transcription, replication, recombination, and gene regulation. Revealing the dynamics of DNA is essential to understanding fundamental processes in the cell and thereby pave the way for future exploitation in engineering and medicine.

To address questions regarding the dynamics of DNA, we develop computational models for individual DNA molecules. These models represent long-length and -time scale dynamics using continuum and coarse grain approximations. Our models account for many physical phenomena, including elasticity, electrostatics, hydrodynamic interactions, and thermal fluctuations.

For more on our research, please see our Research Projects page.

(Image of double helix in the above figure was produced using VMD.)