My research focusses on the development and application of new optical methodologies to study (bio)molecular structure and dynamics. A particular focus rests on the use of light scattering through interferometric scattering microscopy (iSCAT) to visualise and quantify the energetics and kinetics of biomolecular interactions all the way from small molecules to mesoscopic structures at the single molecule level. Central to these efforts is the universality of light scattering, making it applicable to all forms of matter and its close correlation with mass, which provides direct information on molecular identity. The result is a comparatively low-resolution combination of cryo-EM and native mass spectrometry, but with the distinct advantage of dynamic solution operation, single molecule sensitivity and imaging capability. I have an extensive track record in the development of novel spectroscopic and microscopic methodologies and their broad application to the life sciences. Most notably is the first demonstration of label-free detection of single biomolecules in solution and the subsequent expansion to mass measurement.
1. Malay AD, Naoyuki M, Biela A, Chakroborti S, Maisterkiewicz K, Stupka I, Kaplan CS, Kowalczyk A, Piette BMAG, Hochberg GKA, Wu D, Wrobel TP, Fineberg A, Kushwah MS, Kelemen M, Vaypetic P, Pelicon P, Kukura P, Benesch JLPB, Iwasaki K, Heddle JG. An ultra-stable gold-coordinated protein cage displaying reversible assembly Nature 2019 569:438-442
Demonstration of mass photometry for the elucidation of the kinetics of macromolecular assembly.
2. Tala L., Fineberg A., Kukura P., Persat A. Pseudomonas aeruginosa orchestrates twitching motility by sequential control of type IV pili movements. Nature Microbiology 2019 4:774-780
Application of interferometric scattering microscopy to bacterial motility. First direct and dynamic observation of pili.
3. Young G, Hundt N, Cole D, Fineberg A, Andrecka J, Tyler A, Olerinyova A, Ansari A, Marklund EG, Collier MP, Chandler SA, Tkachenko O, Allen J, Crispin M, Billington N, Takagi Y, Sellers JR, Eichmann C, Selenko P, Frey L, Riek R, Galpin MR, Struwe WB, Benesch JLP*, Kukura P*. Quantitative mass imaging of single biological macromolecules.
Science 2018 360: 423-327
(Featured in: Science News & Views, Nature Methods, C&E News, Science Translational Medicine Blog, Phys.org, Chemistry & Industry)
Development of a new approach to measuring mass of biomolecules: mass photometry.
4. Arroyo JO, Andrecka J, Spillane KM, Billington N, Takagi Y, Sellers JR, Kukura P. Label-Free, All-Optical Detection, Imaging, and Tracking of a Single Protein. Nano Letters 2014 14:2065-2070
First all-optical, label-free detection of a single protein in solution.
5. Kukura P, Ewers H, Mueller C, Renn A, Helenius A, Sandoghdar V. High-speed nanoscopic tracking of the position and orientation of a single virus. Nature Methods 2009 6: 923–935
Development and introduction of interferometric scattering microscopy (iSCAT)
9-11 September 2019, Trnava, Slovakia