Canada Research Chair in Materials and Structural Biology
Tier 2 - 2003-09-01
Simon Fraser University
Natural Sciences and Engineering
Coming to Canada from
Rockefeller University, USA
Theoretical experimentation on molecular electronics, protein folding and gene regulation.
Increased understanding of the properties of nanoscale systems (non-biological and biological) offers a wide range of potential applications.
Tapping Nature's Design
As the push toward miniaturization of electronic devices continues, scientists and engineers are turning to the world of nanotechnology for potential solutions to this challenge, which could range from fabricating devices based on single molecule switches to redesigning biological systems to perform new functions.
Dr. Eldon Emberly's interdisciplinary research focuses on understanding systems at the nanoscale from a theoretical perspective. His current efforts deal with molecular electronics, and
The emerging field of molecular electronics concerns itself with understanding the electrical properties of devices and systems fabricated out of single molecules. These smallest of electrical switches have remarkable properties, which make them unlike any current semi-conductor-based technology. Dr. Emberly's research focuses on modelling the physical principles that govern the operation of these molecular wires which may form the foundation of future computations.
Nature is the ultimate nanotechnologist. It is able to produce its parts, assemble them and perform computation based on input from the surrounding environment. Dr. Emberly's research is studying two pieces of the large molecular biology puzzle. The first focus is on understanding the structural properties of proteins, one of the key molecular components that make up biological systems. He will use models of protein structure to make predictions about possible protein folds
that nature has not yet found. His second focus is on using bioinformatic approaches to discover how biological networks regulate themselves and perform computations. For example, one area he is studying is how genes are regulated in fruit flies and other related species. Searching for organizing principles underlying biological logic and how it varies is the main thrust of this latter effort.