Kelly Laboratory for Nanoscale

Optics and Membrane Biophysics

Department of Physics & Astronomy

Wayne State University, Detroit, MI



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In the Kelly Lab, we employ a variety of experimental and computational methods to explore the nanoscale properties of membranes. In particular, we focus on novel sub-diffraction-limited optical methods, many of which we are developing ourselves. We are in the process of developing single-molecule localization setup with TIRF and SPIM!


All interested students and collaborators are encouraged to contact us. We love to share our techniques and learn about new applications for them.


Here are a few of our ideas and results. Let us know what you think!









Christopher V. Kelly

Assistant Professor

Office: 283 Physics

Lab: 282 Physics


Department of Physics &


Wayne State University

666 W. Hancock St.

Detroit, MI 48201



We have developed a near-field optical approach to illuminate only a 60 nm region on a membrane and observe the lateral diffusion of membrane-bound molecules.



We fabricate apertures that are very flat to allow the membrane to stay flat while limiting the illumination through nanoscale apertures.


(313) 577-8471







We can observe the cross-linking of membrane-bound proteins with the technique of fluorescence correlation spectroscopy to observe bursts of fluorescence as the proteins diffuse over the aperture.




We are also very interested in learning how nanoparticles affect membranes. Some nanoparticles flatten out on the membrane while others cause serious membrane degradation via removing lipids from the membrane.




We can harvest membranes from living cells, study what causes cells to release their membranes, or test how various nanoparticles bind to and damage the membrane.



Microfluidics are used to trap individual living cells. We hope to develop this into a high-throughput method for the analysis of individual cells.




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Last Updated 2/10/13