THE American Physical Society named Emory biophysicist Laura Finzi among its 2023 Fellows, an honor given to researchers who have made significant contributions to the application of physics to science and technology and advanced physics through original research .
The APS only honors about half a percent of its members with the Fellows distinction. Finzi’s recognition is for “pioneering work on magnetic tweezers aimed at resolving the difference between the elastic theory of full polymers and the simplifying model of freely hinged chains and demonstrating the key role of DNA supercoiling in the regulation of transcription, and to use the movement of tethered particles to study genetic switches. »
She just joins nine previously awarded fellows at Emory College.
Stefan Boettcher, chair of Emory’s physics department and named an APS Fellow in 2018, says he and his colleagues are thrilled to see Finzi receive this “well-deserved” recognition.
“Not only are Laura’s pioneering studies of the mechanical properties of DNA a legend in the field, but this award also reflects her lifelong commitment to top-notch research and mentorship,” Boettcher said. “She is a tremendous asset to the department and the university through her many collaborative efforts on campus as well as her dedication to improving diversity and equity in STEM overall.” »
As a professor in the Department of Physics at Emory College of Arts and Sciences as well as a member of the graduate programs in Chemistry and Biomedical Engineering and the Winship Cancer Center, Finzi studies the physical principles underlying the regulation of Gene transcription using visualization techniques. and manipulation of single molecules.
“I am deeply honored by this award,” says Finzi.
In 2019, Finzi received an NSF Major Research Instrumentation grant to purchase a correlative optical tweezer and confocal microscope, called C-Trap. This installation is taken advantage of in the new Center for Molecular Mechanobiology at Emory.
She is also co-author of a Paper 2022 who used atomic force microscopy to show how gene transcription overcomes protein-related obstacles in DNA.
This discovery brings researchers closer to understanding the role that gene transcription may play in diseases such as cancer and contributes to the design of synthetic regulatory circuits to control gene expression.
The Biophysical Society invited Finzi to speak and chair a symposium, “The Fluid Nature or Freeze of the Genome,” at its 68th meeting in February in Philadelphia.
Finzi’s public work includes editing the special “Supercoiling in DNA-protein interactions» issue of Biophysical Review in 2016 and serving as a member of the Executive Committee, Program Committee and Council of the Biophysical Society.
Now president-elect of the Emory College Senate and a member of the group’s executive committee, Finzi is also co-founder and co-chair of Women and Science at Emory (WISE) and is founding chair of the Physics Department’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.