Works on a range of topics in biophysics, soft-matter physics and statistical mechanics. Beck’s research group is focused on the biophysical understanding of the forces and interactions governing the self-assembly of biomolecules into functional nanoscopic structures including the organization principles of cytoskeleton proteins within the neuronal system, intrinsically disordered proteins, membranes and nano-complexes of lipids and proteins. Their research combines various biochemical techniques to isolate and express desired products and advance microscopic and biophysical techniques such as small angle X-ray scattering to characterize the structures and their governing intermolecular forces.
Research achievements include: characterization of delayed and coordinated nucleation of supercooled phospholipid membranes; developing biophysical models to match the measured protein-based hydrogel mechanics and nanoscopic structures originated from the neuronal cytoskeleton; biophysical insights correlating structural phase transition in myelin sheaths as pathological marker for multiple sclerosis; developing information-based entropy estimators for computer simulation datasets.
Future directions include: developing novel techniques to measure in high throughput transient and reversible interactions between intrinsically disordered proteins; design, measure and model, hybrid polypeptide-hydrocarbon dendrimer amphiphiles that self-assemble into tunable nanoscale structures.