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We are interested in the use and development of novel biophysical techniques to study biomolecular interactions including proteins, DNA and RNA at the level of individual molecules. The advantages of single-molecule detection are many, apart from the fascination of looking at individual biomolecules at work, single-molecule techniques can measure intermediates and follow time-dependent pathways of chemical reactions and folding mechanisms that are difficult or impossible to synchronize at the ensemble level. Thus, single-molecule techniques provide novel insights into how molecules and systems behave, having the advantage that spatial and temporal averaging is avoided, temporal synchronisation is not necessary and novel phenomena, which otherwise are averaged and remain hidden in ensembles, may be discovered. Our aim is to monitor, in real-time, the behaviour of individual biological molecules and complexes, in vitro and in live cells. By combining the dynamic information obtained at the single-molecule or single-complex level with structural and biochemical analyses, we hope to create "molecular movies" of biological processes and from them obtain a deeper understanding of these processes.
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