University of Nebraska Medical Center

Piero Bianco, PhD

Research Associate Professor


Piero Bianco

My associates and I use a combination of bulk-phase biochemical and single-molecule biophysical approaches to understand the molecular basis of stalled DNA replication fork rescue, an essential process required to maintain genome stability.

Our experimental work is concerned with the function and regulation of the complexes that control fork rescue, with studies focused primarily on the role of the single-strand DNA binding protein (SSB) and several recombination enzymes, using Escherichia coli as the model organism. The single-molecule studies employ what we call “visual biochemistry”, a technique I pioneered that combines optical tweezers, microfluidics, and high-resolution fluorescence microscopy.

In addition, we use Total Internal Reflectance Fluorescence Microscopy (TIRFM) to visualize single DNA replication reactions in vitro and in vivo. To achieve single base-pair resolution, we also use magnetic tweezers, a complementary single-molecule microscopy technique. To observe biological transactions in living cells, we have developed a novel, high-speed super-resolution microscopy technique based on structured illumination.

We collaborate with researchers in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, the Eppley Institute for Cancer Research, the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Creighton University, and colleagues in Australia, the UK, and China.