Block lab at Stanford University

Principal investigator

Steven Block

A picture of Steve Block

Professor Block holds the Ascherman Chair in the Depts. of Applied Physics and Biology at Stanford. He's best-known as a founder of the field known as "single molecule biophysics." Block holds degrees from Oxford and Caltech, and served as faculty at the Rowland Institute and Harvard, then Princeton, prior to joining Stanford in 1999. Block is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and is a Fellow of the AAAS, the APS, and the BPS. His research lies at the interface of physics and biology, particularly in the study of biomolecular motors, including kinesin and RNA polymerase, and the folding of nucleic acid-based structures. His group pioneered the use of laser-based optical traps to study the nanoscale motions of biomolecules. In what's left of his spare time, he enjoys skiing and playing bluegrass music on the banjo and mandolin.


Postdoctoral researchers

Anirban Chakraborty

A picture of Anirban Chakraborty
Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Rutgers University, 2013

I joined the Block lab in 2013. I am currently working with Arthur Meng to analyze RNA polymerase II mediated regulation of gene expression. I received my Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry from Rutgers University in 2013. At Rutgers University, I worked under the supervision of Prof. Richard Ebright. For my graduate dissertation, I performed single-molecule fluorescence experiments to analyze bacterial RNA polymerase clamp conformation. Prior to joining Rutgers University, from 2005-2007, I worked for as an Associate Scientist at AstraZeneca India Pvt. Ltd. There, I was involved in characterization and evaluation of potential drug targets against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In addition to single-molecule Biophysics, I enjoy photography, tennis and travelling.


Graduate students

Bojan Milic

A picture of Bojan Milic
B.S. in Biology and Chemistry, Stanford University, 2013

I completed my undergraduate studies at Stanford, where I received a B.S. in Biology and Chemistry. I first joined the Block Lab in early 2010 as an undergraduate, where I developed an interest in studying biological phenomena at the single-molecule level. Working with Johan Andreasson, I spent most of my time in lab trying to understand how kinesin, a motor protein that transports cargo in cells, is able to travel micron-scale distances along intracellular highways called microtubules without dissociating. After graduating, I was fortunate enough to get to stay at Stanford as part of the Biophysics Program. I rejoined the Block Lab in late 2013, where I am currently continuing my work on kinesin.


Daniel Hogan

A picture of Daniel Hogan
B.S. in Physics, Caltech, 2013

In 2013, I graduated from Caltech with a B.S. in Physics. As an undergradute, I worked with Prof. Mitchio Okumura on precision spectroscopy of small molecules using cavity ringdown spectroscopy and photoacoustic spectroscopy. My research supported NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory mission, which endeavours to create a global map of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

I entered Stanford's Applied Physics program and joined the Block lab in 2013. I am building a next generation optical trap and working on transcription dynamics.


Former students