Physics Colloquium: Nanoscale Biophysics to Study Protein‐Lipid Interactions in Disease and Drug Development

Event Details

  • Speaker(s): Dr. Zoya Leonenko
  • Date:
  • Time: 3:00 PM
  • Location: SSC 1511


Leonenko’s laboratory studies biophysics of lipid membrane and lipid‐protein interactions, the role of structural changes and physical properties of lipid membrane in controlling biological processes and diseases, application of lipid films in biomedical nanotechnology. Current projects include amyloid toxicity, cure and prevention in Alzheimer’s disease; structure and function of lung surfactant; lipid based gene delivery systems and antimicrobial peptides for drug development. We use optical, fluorescence and Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) methods, such as Atomic force microscopy (AFM), Kelvin probe force microscopy (KPFM) and AFM‐based force measurements; Langmuir‐Blodgett monolayer technique; as well as plasmonics (SPR, SERS), molecular dynamics simulations and neutron scattering through collaborations. In this talk I will focus mostly on Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by dementia and memory loss for which no cure or prevention is available. Amyloid toxicity is a result of the nonspecific interaction of toxic amyloid oligomers with the plasma membrane. We used AFM and KPFM, neutron scattering and surface plasmon resonance (SPR) to study amyloid fibril formation and interaction of amyloid beta peptide (1‐42) with lipid membrane. We showed that cholesterol creates nanoscale electrostatic domains, which induce preferential binding of amyloid peptide, while melatonin reduces amyloid‐membrane interactions. Using atomic force spectroscopy (AFS) we showed that novel amyloid inhibitors prevent amyloid‐amyloid binding, the first step which leads to toxic amyloid aggregates.


Coffee and Refreshments will be available in SSC 1511.