Synthetic Biology Discussion Group

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Leo Chou, an assistant professor at the Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering, will give a talk titled “What can DNA nanotechnology do for synthetic biology?”

This group is open to investigators, trainees and staff affiliated with the University of Toronto. To sign up and receive information about upcoming meetings, please contact Laura Prochazka.

Talk Abstract

The field of DNA nanotechnology uses nucleic acids as a “brick & mortar” toolset to build synthetic molecular structures and devices. These DNA-based tools leverage the sequence-programmability and predictability of nucleic acid hybridization to enable precise spatiotemporal manipulation of macromolecules as well as higher-ordered assemblies. A central motivation of the field is to be able to design and create artificial molecular assemblies that rival the complexity of natural molecular systems, and that can perform user-defined tasks across molecular to cellular length scales. The pursuit of this goal also aims to contribute towards a bottom-up understanding of how the spatiotemporal dynamics of biomolecular assemblies dictate their function, which can inform synthetic biology design.

In this talk I will provide an overview of DNA nanotechnology and briefly introduce its fundamental as well as emerging capabilities. I will highlight existing examples of DNA-based molecular tools and devices, including their use for synthetic biology applications, such as for controlling receptor signaling and gene expression. I will also highlight efforts from our own group to engineer bio-inspired molecular devices for applications in biological sensing and therapeutic discovery.

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