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Katie Livingston Yocham

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Department of Mechanical & Biomedical Engineering

Katie L1Katie graduated from North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene with an Associate of Science degree in 2013. She then moved to Boise to continue her education by pursuing a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Boise State. The recipient of both a National Science Foundation (NSF) scholarship and an Idaho STEP Distinguished Mentor Award Research Grant, Katie joined the Nanoscale Materials and Device group in June of 2014.

Working in the Surface Science Lab with Dr. Paul Davis, Katie assists NMDG members and other users perform research utilizing atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Currently Katie is involved in a collaborative project with Boise State Physics Professor Daniel Fologea and Materials Science Professors Dave Estrada and Elton Graugnard investigating the effects of intercalating agents such as ethidium bromide on the tertiary structure of supercoiled circular DNA. Such studies are of great interest in understanding how intercalating chemotherapeutic agents interact with and prevent replication of the DNA present in cancer cells. In addition, she has recently started working on a second project with Dr. Fologea to characterize the structural changes pore-forming proteins undergo as they open and close. Unregulated pores formed by pathogenic bacteria such as anthrax, cholera, and staphylococcus puncture the cell membrane and can be cytotoxic. Thus a better understanding of pore structure and function is key to the prevention and treatment of many potentially lethal bacterial infections.

Instruments and Techniques

  • Atomic Force and Surface Probe Microscopy (AFM/SPM)
    • Topography and Surface Roughness Analysis
      • Noncontact
      • PeakForce
      • Tapping Mode
    • Electrical Characterization
      • Conductive and Tunneling AFM (CAFM/TUNA)
      • Electric and Kelvin Probe Force Microscopy (EFM/KPFM)
    • Fluid Imaging
    • Magnetic Force Microscopy (MFM)
    • Nanomechanical Properties Measurement
      • Nanoindentation
      • Quantitative Nanomechanical Mapping (QNM)
  • Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)


Peer Reviewed Journal Publications

Krueger, E., Shim, J., Fathizadeh, A., Chang, A. N., Subei, B., Yocham, K. M., Davis, P. H., Graugnard, E., Khalili-Araghi, F., Bashir, R., Estrada, D. & Fologea, D. “Modeling and Analysis of Intercalant Effects on Circular DNA Conformation” ACS Nano accepted (2016). doi:10.1021/acsnano.6b04876
Krueger, E., Chang, A. N., Brown, D., Eixenberger, J., Brown, R., Rastegar, S., Yocham, K. M., Cantley, K. D. & Estrada, D. “Graphene Foam as a Three-Dimensional Platform for Myotube Growth” ACS Biomater. Sci. Eng. 2 (8): 1234-1241 (2016). doi:10.1021/acsbiomaterials.6b00139

Conference Presentations and Posters

Krueger, E., Shim, J., Chang, A. N., Subei, B., Fathizadeh, A., Yocham, K. M., Davis, P. H., Graugnard, E., Khalili-Araghi, F., Bashir, R., Estrada, D. & Fologea, D. “Nanopore Sensors for Analysis of Circular DNA Topology” presented at 2015 Biophysical Society National Meeting, Baltimore, MD (February 2015).