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Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory
208 North Wright Street Urbana, Illinois 61801


Office hours 8:30a - 5:00p


Phone: 217-333-3097
Fax: 217-244-6375


Paul R. Selvin

Paul R. Selvin

Ph.D., Physics, University of California-Berkeley, 1990

Research Interests:
  • Ion channels — structure and dynamics of voltage-controlled ion channels that are responsible for nerve impulses.
  • Actomyosin — structure and dynamics of myosin and its interaction with actin, the two proteins responsible for muscle contraction.
  • High-throughput-screening of drugs — developing novel non-radioactive assays for rapid, sensitive and simple method for rapid screening of potential drugs and their effect on interaction of biomolecules.
  • Protein dynamics —electron transport in bacterial chlorophyll.
  • Development of advanced resonance energy transfer techniques, including single molecule fluorescence and lanthanide-based assays.
  • Development of long-lived luminescent probes based on lanthanide luminescence.
  • (Ph.D. thesis title: DNA Dynamics: From Picoseconds to Milliseconds)
  • Detected single fluorescent molecules and energy transfer between a single donor-acceptor pair via Near-Field Scanning Optical Microscopy.
  • Measured voltage-dependent conformational changes in voltage-controlled ion channel, using lanthanide-based resonance energy transfer.
  • Measured conformational changes in myosin head as a function of actin and nucleotide binding using lanthanide-based resonance energy transfer.
  • Developed new luminescent lanthanide chelates which are alternatives to fluorescent dyes, and are particularly useful for discriminating against background fluorescence. This includes their synthesis, photophysical characterization and atomic (x-ray) structure.
  • Developed new energy-transfer technique based on these lanthanide chelates, and built the appropriate spectrometer. A 100-fold improvement in signal to background over conventional fluorescence energy transfer has been achieved.
  • Used picosecond fluorescence spectroscopy to detect anharmonic torsional modes in DNA.
For more information:
Paul Selvin - Curriculum Vitae
Paul Selvin - Personal Web Page

Honors, Recognition, and Outstanding Achievements for Teaching:

  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent, Fall 1999, Fall 2001, Spring 2002, Spring 2003.
  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award for Outstanding Research/Teaching (2000)

Honors, Recognition, and Outstanding Achievements for Research:

  • Nikon Fellowship, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts (2010)
  • The International Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in Biophysics, Tel Aviv University (2006)
  • University Scholar, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (2006-2007)
  • Faculty Member of the Precision Proteomics Research Theme, Institute for Genomic Biology (2005-present)
  • Fellow, American Physical Society (2004-present)
  • Physics Sony Faculty Scholar (2004-2007)
  • Elected to General council of Biophysical Society (2004)
  • Biophysical Society Michael and Kate Barany Award for Young Investigators (2004)
  • Beckman Fellow, Center for Advanced Studies, Urbana (Spring 2000)
  • Cottrell Scholar, Research Corporation (2000)
  • Xerox Award for Outstanding Research (2000)
  • Research Innovation Award, Research Corp. (1999)
  • Young Fluorescence Investigator Award, Biophysical Society (1999)
  • Searle Fellowship nominee from Urbana (1997-1998)
  • P.I. of NIH grant ranked in top 2.4% (5 year funding beginning 1996)
  • Co-author of NIH grants ranked in top 4% (4 year funding beginning 1994) and top 11% (5 year funding beginning 1988)
  • AAAS Mass Media Science and Engineering Fellow (1990)
  • Office of Technology Assessment Congressional Fellow Winner (1990)
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Student Fellowship (1983-86)