Cyrus R. Safinya is a Professor in the Materials, Physics, and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology Departments at UCSB. He obtained a B.S. in Physics and Mathematics from Bates College (1975) and a Ph.D. in Physics from M.I.T. (1981). He joined the Exxon Research and Engineering Company in New Jersey in 1981 and conducted research on the structure of complex fluids and biological membranes. He joined the faculty of the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1992. He was a Henri De Rothschild Foundation Fellow at Curie Institute in 1994. He is a Fellow of The American Physical Society and of The American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Safinya's research involves using modern synchrotron x-ray scattering techniques combined with light and electron microscopy to elucidate structures and interactions in assemblies of biological molecules and soft matter systems. Current research is centered on (1) the elucidation of key parameters, which control the interactions between proteins derived from the eukaryotic nerve cell cytoskeleton and lead to hierarchical structures, with the ultimate goal of relating structure to function, and (2) developing lipid-based carriers of functional DNA and short-interfering RNA for gene delivery and silencing applications. For a more detailed description please see Safinya Group Website.
Gel Expanded - Gel Condensed Transition in Neurofilament Networks revealed by Direct Force Measurements, Beck, R., Deek, J., Jones, J. B., Safinya, C. R, (Nature Materials, in press)
Human Microtubule-Associated-Protein Tau Regulates the Number of Protofilaments in Microtubules: A Synchrotron X-ray Scattering Study, M.C. Choi, U. Raviv, H. Miller, M.R. Gaylord, E. Kiris, D. Ventimiglia, D. Needleman, M.W. Kim, L. Wilson, S.C. Feinstein and C.R. Safinya, Biophysical Journal 29, 519-527 (2009). (cover image)
The Role of Cholesterol and Structurally Related Molecules in Enhancing Transfection by Cationic Liposome-DNA Complexes. Zidovska, A.; Evans, H. M.; Ahmad, A.; Ewert, K. K.; Safinya, C. R. J. Phys. Chem. B 113 (15), 5208-5216 (2009). (cover image)
Block Liposomes from Curvature-Stabilizing Lipids: Connected Nanotubes, -rods or -spheres. Zidovska, A.; Ewert, K. K.; Quispe, J.; Carragher, B.; Potter, C. S.; Safinya, C. R., Langmuir 25 (5), 2979-2985 (2009) (cover image).
Interplay between Liquid Crystalline and Isotropic Gels in Self-Assembled Neurofilament Networks. Jones, J. B.; Safinya, C. R. Biophys. J. 95, 823-825 (2008).
Structure and Gene Silencing Activities of Monovalent and Pentavalent Cationic Lipid Vectors Complexed with siRNA. Nathan F. Bouxsein, Christopher S. McAllister, Kai K. Ewert, Charles E. Samuel & Cyrus R. Safinya, Biochemistry 46, 4785-4792 (2007).
Cationic Liposome-DNA Complexes: From Liquid Crystal Science to Gene Delivery Applications. C. R. Safinya, K. Ewert, A. Ahmad, H. M. Evans, Uri Raviv, A. J. Lin, N. L. Slack, C. George, C. E. Samuel, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A - Mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences 364 (1847), 2573-2596 (2006)
A Columnar Phase of Dendritic Lipid-Based Cationic Liposome-DNA Complexes for Gene Delivery: Hexagonally Ordered Cylindrical Micelles embedded in a DNA Honeycomb Lattice. Kai Ewert, Heather Evans, Alexandra Zidovska, Nathan F. Bouxsein, Ayesha Ahmad, Cyrus R. Safinya, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 128, 3998-4006 (2006)
New Multivalent Lipids Reveal Bell-Curve for Transfection versus Membrane Charge Density: Nonviral Lipid-DNA Complexes for Gene Delivery, Ayesha Ahmad, Heather Evans, Kai Ewert, C. X. George, Charles E. Samuel, Cyrus R. Safinya, J. Gene Medicine 7, 739-748 (2005).
Cationic Liposome - Microtubule Complexes: Pathways to the Formation of Two State Lipid-Protein Nanotubes with Open or Closed Ends. U. Raviv, D. J. Needleman, Y. Li, H. P. Miller, L. Wilson, and C. R. Safinya, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 102 (32), 11167-11172 (2005)
Higher Order Assembly of Microtubules by Counter-ions: From Hexagonal Bundles to Living Necklaces. D. J. Needleman, M. Ojeda-Lopez, U. Raviv, H. P. Miller, L. Wilson, & C. R. Safinya, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 101 (46), 16099-16103 (2004).