About Student Research

David H. Tse (2017–present)

DNA looping when proteins are involved

David Tse grew up in Malaysia, receiving his undergraduate degree from Houghton College in New York state in 2016. He was a summer undergraduate research fellow in the Maher lab at Mayo Clinic in 2015.

Though threadlike when viewed from a distance, DNA is more like a rod when considered over lengths of dozens of base pairs where proteins recognize specific sequences and bind selectively. DNA resists bending, twisting and looping over these distances. David Tse's project involves studies of tight DNA loops such as those exploited by E. coli bacteria in regulating genes such as the famous lactose operon.

Using components of this genetic switch, David is studying whether the switch can be tuned by indirectly adjusting the stiffness of the looped DNA. David's hypothesis is that DNA-binding proteins that stiffen DNA will make it more resistant looping and gene repression, while DNA kinking proteins will have the opposite effect. This work is relevant to the concept of artificial gene control in synthetic biology.