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Peter B Tarsa
Postdoctoral Associate in Biological Engineering

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What are your primary research interests?

I am interested in the intersection of chemistry, physics, and biology. From this large general area of research, I am most excited about the power of optical imaging to answer questions on the cellular and molecular levels.

Describe the most challenging project you have worked on. What made it so challenging?

This would have to be the combination of optical tweezers force microscopy with single molecule FRET, which is the next step beyond the paper you are reviewing. The experiment required multiple components to all work together, all in a single molecule at a time. Since you cannot directly see a single molecule to troubleshoot any problems, you have to carefully design experiments to perfect the molecular assay and coordinate the instrumentation.

What are some of your hobbies/interests outside of research?

I like spending time outdoors, including hiking and fly fishing.

What is the best advice anyone is given you?

That life goes in cycles - everyone has rough patches and times where you are on top of the world. While this is true in all parts of life, it is especially relevant to the lab, where you may have a stretch of bad results or experiments that do not work. Then one day you get it all right and the really exciting part of research starts, where results are pouring out and you can barely remember the frustrating times.

What is your favorite music?

I like all different types of music, but my iPod probably has mostly rock and bluegrass.

What is/are your favorite book(s)?

My two favorite books are A Man in Full by Tom Wolfe and A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving.

What is/are your favorite movies?

I like each of the Coen brothers' movies for their characters and re-watchability.

What is/are your favorite TV shows?

The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.

What is/are your favorite sports and teams?

Baseball and Golf; I keep up with all of the professional Boston teams but most closely follow the Red Sox.

What is/are your favorite quotes?

"There's no crying in baseball!"

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