Single molecule force spectroscopy is being used to investigate the mechanical properties of chitosan. The interaction of chitosan with various biologically relevant surfaces will be investigated as well as chitosan-chitosan interaction molecules. The goal of this research project is to investigate the biopolymer chitosan at the single molecule level and apply this information towards the preparation of novel chitosan based biomaterials.
In collaboration with Prof. Peter Davies (Queen's University) we have also begun to investigate the protein dimerization domain of calpains, calcium-dependent cycteine proteases involved in calcium signaling. In particular we are interested in using single molecule force spectroscopy to investigate the role of calcium in the dimerization of the PEF (penta-EF-hand) domains.