September 1, 2016 – Former NMDG member and Surface Science Lab (SSL) student researcher Katie Yocham has just had a paper she co-authored accepted for publication in ACS Nano (DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.6b04876). Katie is finishing up her undergraduate degree while also participating in the accelerated Master’s of Science in Mechanical & Biomedical Engineering at Boise State. The article, entitled “Modeling and Analysis of Intercalant Effects on Circular DNA Conformation“, focuses on the effect of the intercalating agent ethidium bromide (a mimic for many chemotherapy drugs) on the tertiary structure of DNA. Intercalating agents work by inserting themselves into the DNA double helix between adjacent base pairs, thereby interfering with DNA transcription and replication. Although this can lead to genetic mutations, it can also help stem the uncontrolled cell growth associated with cancer. The paper was the result of a collaboration that included Dr. Dave Estrada, coordinator of the graduate program in Boise State’s Micron School of Materials Science & Engineering, Dr. Daniel Fologea of the Boise State Department of Physics, Boise State postdoctoral researcher Dr. Eric Krueger, and NMDG members Dr. Elton Graugnard and Dr. Paul Davis. The team used a combination of electrical translocation measurements through nanopores (fabricated by collaborators at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign), AFM imaging (carried out using the SSL’s Bruker MultiMode 8 AFM), and computer simulations (conducted by collaborators at the University of Illinois Chicago) to show that introduction of intercalating agent results in supercoiling of the DNA double helix that leads to a highly branched DNA loop structure. For more details on the paper, see the recent Boise State Update article highlighting the work.