The King lab develops and applies precision measurement and analysis capabilities at the intersection of physics, molecular biology, and nanotechnology.

Membrane proteins are difficult to characterize via traditional techniques, yet they constitute ~30% of proteins expressed in cells and perform critical functions. A primary goal of our research is to study individual membrane proteins with precision approaches, illuminating key physical attributes. 

To accomplish this, we apply atomic force microscopy (AFM) and other techniques. AFM can reveal conformations, conformational dynamics, and structural energetics of membrane proteins in near-native conditions.


Our lab developed the Hessian blob algorithm out of a need for a more precise and well-defined definition of a “particle” in the analysis of AFM images, where it is used to detect single biomolecules in larger scale images. If you are interested in utilizing this software in your research you may download it here (written in Igor Pro 7). You can also access the software through our lab's GitHub site:  

To get you started, we have a brief tutorial, and a few test images: image 1,  image 2 , and image 3. If utilized in a publication, we ask that you kindly cite our paper “The Hessian Blob Algorithm: Precise Particle Detection in Atomic Force Microscopy Imagery” [B.P. Marsh et al., Scientific Reports Volume 8, Article number: 978 (2018)]. NOTE: if you plan to use this software for commercial purposes, please contact the The MU Office of Technology Management & Industry Relations to inquire about licensing.