Julie Sutton, PhD



(617) 324-8150



My previous research focused on understanding the physical properties of nucleic acids in solution. My toolkit of techniques to characterize biomolecules included fluorescence microscopy, X-ray scattering and microfluidic mixing. In particular, I built a microscope to perform single-molecule FRET – a technique useful for measuring the conformational heterogeneity of a population of biomolecules, and monitoring their changes under varying solution conditions. Using this microscope, I measured unexpected changes in the conformations of model RNA systems, which may have implications for our understanding of RNA binding and folding mechanisms.



I am excited to share my passion for instrumentation with students at MIT. Course 20.309 gives students practical experience designing, building, and troubleshooting scientific instruments used to measure biological systems. I believe that there is no substitute for hands-on laboratory work to make connections between concepts learned in the classroom and their implementation in the real world. Working in the lab is also a great way for students to learn how to productively collaborate and communicate with their peers – an invaluable skill wherever their careers may take them. My goal as an instructor is to provide guidance and mentorship in order to enable students to overcome hurdles and solve problems by asking the right questions.

Research Areas: