Nanoscale construction with DNA

Thursday, April 19, 2012 - 7:00pm
Shawn Douglas, Wyss Institute, Harvard University
Shawn Douglas

The programmability of DNA makes it an attractive material for constructing intricate nanoscale shapes. One method for creating these structures is DNA origami, in which a multiple-kilobase single-stranded 'scaffold' is folded into a custom nanoscale shape by interacting with hundreds of short oligonucleotide 'staple' strands. I will talk about our efforts to realize demand-meeting applications of this method, including our recent development of nanoscale devices to mimic cell-signaling stimulation carried out by our own immune systems.

This meeting is sponsored jointly by the the GBC/ACM and Boston Chapter of the IEEE Computer Society.

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Shawn Douglas received his Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Yale in 2003 and his Ph.D. in Biophysics from Harvard in 2009. His research interest is in developing experimental methods and software to construct and manipulate self-assembling biomaterials on the nanometer scale. He worked as a graduate student in the laboratories of William Shih and George Church to generate custom three-dimensional shapes using the "DNA origami" method, including a novel alignment medium for NMR structure determination of membrane proteins. He has also led the development of cadnano, an open-source computer-aided design software that aids in the design of 3D shapes. Contact: