Featured Customer: Laxman Mainali, Ph.D.

Please tell us about your background: where you grew up, what you studied and the field you chose.

I grew up in Kakarvitta, Jhapa which is the eastern part of Nepal. I completed my master’s degree in physics in 2005 from Tribhuvan University, Nepal and came to the USA in 2005 for my Ph.D. degree. I completed my Ph.D. in Physics with specialization in biophysics in 2009 from University at Albany, State University of New York.

What led you to choose those fields? What are the challenges that excite you?

During my first year of Ph.D. I got a chance to talk with the biophysics faculty (Dr. Keith A. Earle, my Ph.D. advisor) and I was fascinated to know how physics could be used to answer complex biological questions like; how do organisms work? how protein functions and how can we study structure and dynamics in nanoscale?

What does your current position entail? How does it tie into your previous experience, and where is it going?

After my Ph.D., I spent about 10 years at the department of biophysics, Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) studying the role of membrane cholesterol in eye lens membrane in relation to cataract. During my time at MCW, another research question came up in my mind; Does the binding of lens protein (alpha-crystallin) to membrane induce cataract? What is the role of cholesterol and cholesterol bilayer domains in binding of alpha-Crystallin? Here at Boise State University, my research group uses electron paramagnetic resonance, differential scanning calorimetry, and dynamic light scattering to answer these fundamental questions.

In what context did you first learn about light scattering and Wyatt instruments?

I want to measure the size of vesicles and proteins and did some research and found that the DynaPro® NanoStar® works well for my purpose. I contacted Wyatt and after some discussion decided to purchase the equipment.

How does your research benefit from Wyatt instruments?

My research group is frequently using the NanoStar to measure the size of vesicles, peptides and proteins and we found it very useful for experimental design. Furthermore, the NanoStar has the capability to do temperature scans that allows us to study the stability of protein. The capability of the equipment to work with small sample volume (5 µL in our case) was very helpful in our research.

Any personal anecdotes that would help illuminate your career, interests, connection to Wyatt or outlook for the readers?

I found the NanoStar useful when working with small sample volume (5 µL) as well as its capability to do the temperature scan.