Physicist Michelle Wang named Biophysical Society Fellow

The Biophysical Society has named physicist Michelle Wang a 2024 Society Fellow. Wang is the James Gilbert White Distinguished Professor of the Physical Sciences in the Department of Physics in the College of Arts and Sciences and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. The Fellows will be honored at the Biophysical Society’s 68th Annual Meeting, being held in Philadelphia in February 2024.

The Fellowship award honors the Society’s distinguished members who have demonstrated excellence in science and contributed to the expansion of the field of biophysics. In their announcement, the Society said Wang was chosen for “advancing our understanding of transcription, replication, and chromatin dynamics through the lens of DNA mechanics and topology.”

Wang’s research focuses on the motion, dynamics and mechanics of DNA roadblocks, how DNA motor proteins collide and navigate through roadblocks, and DNA topology during transcription and replication. To work with biological motors and DNA at the single molecule level, Wang develops and utilizes state-of-the-art (and often one-of-a-kind) instruments spanning optical trapping, magnetic tweezers, and nanophotonics. Some of the technologies Wang has developed to mimic DNA-based biological processes include “DNA unzipping” and optical trapping.

She received a B.S. in nuclear physics from Nanjing University and a Ph.D. in biophysics from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. She joined the Cornell faculty in 1998. Among her honors is is an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow Award; she has also been elected to the American Physical Society and the National Academy of Sciences.

The Biophysical Society, founded in 1958, is a professional, scientific society established to lead an innovative global community working at the interface of the physical and life sciences, across all levels of complexity, and to foster the dissemination of that knowledge.

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		Michelle Wang, next to a microscope and with dangling wires and equipment behind her