U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Attila Szabo
 

 Contact Info

 
Tel: 301-496-2650
Email: attilas@mail.nih.gov
 

 Select Experience

 
  • Ph.D.Harvard University1973
  • B.S.McGill University1968
 

 Related Links

 

    Attila Szabo, Ph.D., NIH Distinguished Investigator

    Chief, Laboratory of Chemical PhysicsTheoretical Biophysical Chemistry Section
    Specialties
    • Biomedical Engineering/Biophysics/Physics
    • Computational Biology/Bioinformatics/Biostatistics/Mathematics

    Research Summary

    Research Goal

    The primary goal of our work is to develop the theoretical framework needed to understand the behavior of molecules at the single-molecule level.  The idea is to extract quantitative information from raw experimental data (a photon trajectory or a force extension curve).  This requires a complete understanding of all complex microscopic processes involved and the ability to describe them mathematically. 

    Our second goal is to work with leading experimental groups and show them how to correctly analyze and interpret their experiments.  Our work helps them to obtain a detailed microscopic description of the specific biological processes under investigation.  Our work is significant because it opens the way for single-molecule experiments that provide both qualitative and quantitative answers to questions that scientists cannot address using conventional ensemble experiments.​

    Current Research

    Our research aims to bridge the gap between theory and experiment.  We are developing the theories required to analyze and interpret both single-molecule optical (where the output is a sequence of photons with different colors) and mechanical (where the output is a force-extension curve) experiments.  The goal of our work is to extract both kinetic and thermodynamic information.  In addition, one of our long-term interests is to understand the role of diffusion in determining the rates of chemical reactions, including ligand binding and protein-protein association.

    Applying our Research

    New and powerful drugs are becoming more difficult to find.  Therefore, scientists need to understand biological processes in an ever-increasing amount of detail.  Our work focuses on the behavior of individual molecules as they carry out their function.  As with most basic research, potential practical applications may not be immediately clear, but one thing is certain:  all past discoveries have been intimately linked with deeper understanding.