Dr. Bruce Armitage
Professor and Co-Director, Center for Nucleic Acid Science and Technology
Department of Chemistry
Carnegie Mellon University
4400 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Office: Mellon Institute 722
Phone: (412) 268 4196
Fax: (412) 268 1061
The unifying theme of the research conducted in our laboratory is molecular recognition, i.e. the ability of one molecule to bind to another with high affinity and selectivity, usually through an ensemble of noncovalent interactions. Molecular recognition is the basis for most biological processes and is playing an increasingly important role in materials science and nanotechnology. Chemists are uniquely qualified to work in this area, given our expertise in studying and manipulating molecular-scale phenomena.
In one set of projects, we exploit the ability of synthetic nucleic acid mimics known as peptide nucleic acids to recognize specific DNA and RNA molecules. A second set of projects relies on the intercalation of fluorescent dyes into DNA to create bright fluorescent labels called DNA nanotags. The last set of projects involves the recognition of fluorogenic cyanine dyes by proteins to create genetically encodable protein tags known as fluoromodules. All of these projects involve a combination of synthetic chemistry, optical spectroscopy, various biophysical techniques, biochemistry and chemical biology, but the composition of any given project is tailored to match a student’s interests.
Collaboration is an essential part of our research program. We participate in two interdisciplinary research centers, the Center for Nucleic Acids Science and Technology, or CNAST, and the Molecular Biosensor and Imaging Center, or MBIC. Both centers bring together chemists, biologists and members of allied fields (e.g. physics and chemical engineering) to attack problems in diverse areas ranging from fundamental biology to nanotechnology. Key individual collaborators include Danith Ly, Subha Das, David Yaron and Linda Peteanu (Chemistry), Alan Waggoner, Brooke McCartney, Javier Lopez, John Woolford and Jon Jarvik (Biological Sciences) and Jim Schneider (Chemical Engineering). Working with such a diverse and highly skilled group of collaborators enriches our students’ experiences and helps to train them for an increasingly multidisciplinary world.
The links on this page will take you to more detailed descriptions of the research projects underway in our lab, lists of current and former group members and a brief introduction to yours truly. I hope you enjoy browsing through this site and learning more about our research. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Professor of Chemistry and Co-Director, CNAST