My research is focused on pushing the limits of single-molecule detection methods to study complex biological systems. His group develops state-of-the-art biophysical techniques (e.g., multicolor fluorescence, super-resolution imaging, combined force and fluorescence spectroscopy, vesicular encapsulation, single-molecule pull-down) and applies them to study diverse protein–nucleic acid and protein-protein complexes, and mechanical perturbation and response of these systems both in vitro and in vivo.

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Figure: Reaction in a nonocontainer.  Solution exchange allows controlled catalysis of protein-DNA interaction inside porous vesicles.  The pores in a nanocontainer let small molecules, such as ions and other chemicals, pass through but keep large molecules, such as proteins and DNA, inside.

Illustration courtesy of Ibrahim Cisse and Taekjip Ha.  Modified from Cisse I, Okumus B, Joo C and Ha T. 2007 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 104: 12646.12650.