Laura Finzi, PhD


Titles and Roles

Professor, Department of Physics
Emory College of Arts & Sciences
Research Program
Cell and Molecular Biology


Laura Finzi, PhD, is Professor in the Department of Physics of Emory College of Arts & Sciences.

Dr. Finzi is a member of the Cell and Molecular Biology Research Program at Winship Cancer Institute. She is a fellow of the American Physical Society.


Dr. Finzi earned her PhD in Chemistry from University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


Dr. Finzi's laboratory investigates the molecular mechanisms of transcriptional regulation using single-molecule techniques, such as the tethered particle motion technique, magnetic tweezers and atomic force microscopy in collaboration with David Dunlap, PhD at Emory University. In particular, their current projects include the study of:

(i) Epigenetic switches based on the dynamic conformational changes induced in DNA by regulatory proteins which bind to multiple specific sites and facilitate cooperative interactions. To understand the mechanism at the basis of these switches, it is essential to characterize the nature of the different possible nucleoprotein complexes, as well as the kinetics and thermodynamics of complex formation and breakdown.

(ii) DNA supercoiling as a regulatory element of transcription. DNA supercoiling affects the binding of protein and their regulatory function. They study the behavior of wound and unwound DNA in different conditions, as well as the effect of supercoiled DNA on protein-induced DNA looping or wrapping.

(iii) Molecular machines that carry out or regulate transcription. They study topoisomerases as well as RNA polymerase function.

(iv) DNA bending and torsional rigidity. They study how variations in the bending rigidity of DNA due to various biochemical factors may affect its physiology.

Their research also involves instrumentation and software development, as well as theoretical modeling. They formulate ad hoc computational and analytical models independently and in collaboration with theoretical physicists and mathematicians in order to validate, explain and interpret the experimental data.


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