Life happens on a wide range of size scales. At the molecular level, a rich network of molecular “chutes and ladders” control an enormous set of processes with exceptional precision and defect tolerance. We are interested in the mechanisms by which small physical and/or chemical changes to biomolecules lead to global changes in cell fate. For example, how does a small DNA chemical modification, such as one oxygen added to cytosine, affect the DNA properties? Or, how does a pathogenic mutation in RNA impact its folding ability? While many techniques are available to study these questions, we are interested in developing new tools to measure single molecules with unprecedented detail and sensitivity. We combine optical measurements with electrical measurements to probe transport through a variety of nanopore systems, ranging from nanofluidic pores in PDMS to pores in atomically-thin 2D materials. We are also interested in developing nanoscale ultrathin materials that harness surface crystallinity to afford molecularly precise emergence of function.