People

Principal Investigator

Joseph Loparo
Associate Professor

Joe grew up Cleveland, OH where he attended Case Western Reserve University. At Case he developed a deep interest in using optical spectroscopy to probe the dynamics of molecules, spending four years in the laboratory of Cather Simpson where he studied the photophysics of metalloporphyrins. For his graduate work Joe joined the laboratory of Andrei Tokmakoff in the Dept. of Chemistry at MIT. While there Joe developed and applied ultrafast infrared spectroscopies to probe the dynamics of water's hydrogen bonding network, providing some of the first direct observations of the intermolecular motions of hydrogen bonded water molecules. Upon graduating Joe joined the lab of Antoine van Oijen, then at HMS, to apply his optical background to problems in mechanistic biochemistry. As a Jane Coffin Childs postdoctoral fellow Joe studied the dynamics of the replisome the multiprotein machine that carries out DNA replication. In July 2010 he started his own lab at Harvard Medical School.

Lab Members

Sean Carney
Postdoctoral Researcher

Sean grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, where he studied biochemistry at Gwynedd Mercy University. During this time, he worked in a structural biology lab studying enzymes involved in DNA repair. To continue studying protein structures and mechanisms, he decided to move across the state to Pittsburgh. At the University of Pittsburgh, Sean studied under Dr. Michael Trakselis and Dr. Sanford Leuba investigating the interactions between replicative hexameric helicases and their DNA substrates and how these interactions govern helicase activity. During his studies in Pittsburgh, he was introduced to single-molecule methods, and decided to pursue a postdoc where he could continue to use these powerful tools to dissect molecular mechanisms. This led him to the Loparo Lab, where he now studies non-homologous end joining using single-molecule techniques. Outside of lab, Sean enjoys spending time with his family and exploring the city and its parks with his dog. 

Seungwoo Chang
Postdoctoral Researcher

As a postdoc, my research interest is focused on understanding how cells  faithfully copy and transmit their genetic information. In reality, this is a very challenging task in that genomic DNA is constantly damaged.  Particularly, I have been studying translesion synthesis (TLS), by which cells tolerate replication-blocking DNA lesions. To understand how TLS is regulated in E. coli cells, I am combining multidisciplinary approaches ranging from genetics to fluorescence imaging.

During my PhD years in biophysics, I studied how a G protein-coupled receptor signaling is regulated with a FRET-based sensor that I developed.

HyeongJun Kim
Postdoctoral Researcher

HyeongJun was born and raised in Korea, where he attended Yonsei University to study physics. After spending two and half years in an LED wafer company, he moved to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. There he did single-molecule studies on the molecular motor myosin VI under the supervision of Dr. Paul R. Selvin. After earning a PhD in Physics in 2011, he moved to the Loparo lab in Harvard Medical School as a postdoctoral researcher to continue applying single-molecule techniques to other interesting biological questions. When he has some free time, he enjoys playing soccer and hanging out with his friends.

Andrew Moreno
Postdoctoral Researcher

Andrew is a native of Connecticut and attended Eastern Connecticut State University to study biochemistry. While working on antibody engineering at Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Andrew became fascinated with the physical properties of macromolecular interactions and decided to attend graduate school at Wesleyan University to pursue this interest. There he worked with Professor Ishita Mukerji on projects involving the photochemistry of fluorescent base analogs and the nature of protein-DNA interactions. After a short post-doctoral position in the Wade lab at John Hopkins School of Medicine where his focus was on the rules governing promiscuous ligand recognition by multi-drug resistance proteins, he moved back north to Boston to join the Loparo Lab to work on developing a molecular model for non-homologous end-joining, a DNA double-strand break repair mechanism.

Ben Stinson
Postdoctoral Researcher

Ben is a joint postdoc with the Walter lab.

Lizz Thrall
Postdoctoral Researcher

Lizz is a proud native of Philadelphia, PA and a graduate of Harvard College, where she majored in Chemistry and Physics. As an undergraduate she conducted research on the electrical and magnetic properties of nanocrystalline solids in Hongkun Park’s lab. To pursue her interest in nanomaterials, Lizz moved to the great city of New York for graduate school at Columbia University. There she worked in the lab of Professor Louis Brus on projects involving the photochemistry of plasmonic nanoparticles and the Raman scattering of molecules adsorbed on graphene. Toward the end of her PhD, Lizz got her first introduction to microbes when she studied electron transport in the dissimilatory metal-reducing bacterium Geobacter sulfurreducens using spectroscopic methods. This experience motivated her to pursue single-molecule studies in microbes for her postdoctoral research, which led her to the Loparo lab! Other than shining lasers on bacteria, Lizz’s hobbies include music, cooking, reading, hiking, birdwatching, and running.

Yufan Wu
Postdoctoral Researcher

Yufan grew up in Hangzhou, China. After a year at Zhejiang University, she came to the US to continue her undergraduate education in Chemistry at University of Wisconsin-Madison. She realized her passion in biophysical chemistry while studying the energy landscape of protein folding in the laboratory of Prof. Silvia Cavagnero. She then moved to Stanford for her Ph.D work, where she investigated the origin of enzyme catalysis using vibrational Stark spectroscopy and crystallography under the guidance of Prof. Steven Boxer. The more she learns about proteins the more she is fascinated by their remarkable versatility. She is now excited to learn how protein complexes coordinate the repair of DNA breaks with single-molecule techniques. Outside of work she enjoys travelling, all kinds of sports, board games and books. 

Affiliated Members

Allen Price
Associate Professor of Physics at Emmanuel College

Allen holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in physics from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Science in physics from California Institute of Technology. Allen most recently worked for Novartis Institutes of Biomedical Research, Inc. as a research investigator.