Senior Research Scientist
- Single-molecule biophysics
- Biomolecular interaction analysis
- Instrument and method development
Ken Halvorsen is a Senior Research Scientist at the RNA Institute with a passion for technology development in life sciences. He manages the Advanced Instrumentation Facility and works on RNA science and technology with academic and industrial collaborators. Ken has a decade of expertise in single-molecule biophysics and a track record of developing innovative new technologies and experiments to investigate biology at the nanoscale. Before joining the RNA Institute, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow and research associate in Wesley Wong's lab at Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the Rowland Institute at Harvard University. Ken's major accomplishments include co-inventing and developing the Centrifuge Force Microscope (CFM) for highly multiplexed single-molecule manipulation, elucidating the role of force on the regulation of blood clotting, and developing a DNA-based nanoswitch for analyzing biomolecular interactions. His work has resulted in 12 publications, 2 issued patents, and 3 pending patents. Full CV
BS in Mechanical Engineering and Physics, Clarkson University
PhD in Biomedical Engineering, Boston University
- Dynamic RNA regulation for germline development (Prashanth Rangan) – We are working to understand how the structure of the 3’ untranslated region in a specific gene relates to its expression, and how RNA binding proteins react to structural rearrangement. Sri Ranganathan is also a collaborator on this project.
- Development of nucleic acid reference standards (Paul Agris) – We are developing and testing a set of nucleic acids to help standardize measurements of biomolecular interactions. Our first paper on the topic was recently published.
- Dynamic structure and function of Group II introns (Marlene Belfort) – Group II introns are ribonucleoprotein complexes that seem to undergo conformational changes that are important totheir function in the genome. We are starting investigations of these structural changes with ensemble and single-molecule techniques.
- Thermodynamics of nucleic acid-graphene interactions (Mehmet Yigit) – As part of an effort in Dr. Yigit’s lab to create novel nanoparticle based therapeutics and diagnostics, we are characterizing the binding of nucleic acids to graphene, which is a promising new material in biomedicine. Sri Ranganathan is also a collaborator on this project.
- Thermodynamics of RNA folding (Pan Li) – We are studying various RNA structures and interactions at both the ensemble and single molecule levels to better understand kinetics of RNA folding, RNA ligand binding, and structural polymorphism of various RNAs, especially those that play a role in disease.
- K. Halvorsen^ and P.F. Agris, “Cross-platform comparison of nucleic acid hybridization: toward quantitative reference standards,” Analytical Biochemistry (2014 - in press).
- J. Pelletier*, K. Halvorsen*, B.-Y. Ha, R. Paparcone, S. Sandler, C. Woldringh, W.P. Wong, and S. Jun, “Physical manipulation of the Escherichia coli chromosome reveals its soft nature,” PNAS 109, E2649-E2656 (2012).
- K. Halvorsen, D. Schaak, and W.P. Wong, “Nanoengineering a single-molecule mechanical switch using DNA self-assembly,” Nanotechnology 22, 494005 (2011).
K. Halvorsen and W.P. Wong, “Massively parallel single-molecule manipulation using centrifugal force,” Biophysical Journal 98, L53-L55 (2010).
- X. Zhang*, K. Halvorsen*, W.P. Wong, and T.A. Springer, “Mechanoenzymatic cleavage of the ultralarge vascular protein, von Willebrand Factor,” Science 324, 1330-1334 (2009).
*contributed equally, ^corresponding author
- W.P. Wong and K. Halvorsen, “Spinning force apparatus.” US Patent 8795143 (2014).
- W.P. Wong and K. Halvorsen, “Methods, apparatus, and systems for determining power spectral density of a signal via modulation of the signal.” US Patent 8698912 (2014).
- W.P. Wong and K. Halvorsen, “Spinning force apparatus.” US Patent 8491454 (2013).
- W.P. Wong and K. Halvorsen, Nucleic acid-based linkers for detecting and measuring interactions.” US Patent Application WO2013067489 (2013).