September 8, 2015

Talk of Prof. Elisa Franco

--- Title: Programming circuits and materials with nucleic acids

September 8, 2015

Prof. Elisa Franco
Mechanical Engineering
University of California, Riverside, USA


Tuesday 2015-09-08 16:00
IST-Seminar-Room V2.268 - Pfaffenwaldring 9 - Campus Stuttgart-Vaihingen



Cells have unique abilities to sense, process, and actuate based on environmental stimuli: their molecular components are constantly running many parallel programs that ensure correct growth, motion, reshaping, and repair in response to external inputs. How can modern engineers harness such powerful toolkit of DNA, RNA, and proteins to create the next generation of molecular computers and smart biomaterials? I will describe our efforts in this area, which are centered on the combination of nucleic acids nanotechnology and dynamical systems theory. First, I will summarize our efforts in the design and synthesis of synthetic molecular clocks, essential devices to synchronize events in molecular computers. Specifically, I will describe the challenges arising in scaling up clock-driven circuits. Second, I will outline our progress in the creation of advanced, dynamic biomaterials, inspired to cytoskeletal filaments in cells, using DNA nanostructures powered by oscillators.

Biographical Information

Elisa Franco is an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering at UC Riverside. She received a Ph.D. in control and dynamical systems from Caltech, and a Ph.D. in automation and a M.S. in power systems engineering from the University of Trieste, Italy. Her research interests are in the areas of biological feedback networks and DNA nanotechnology. She received the NSF CAREER award in 2015, a Hellman fellowship and a UC Regents fellowship in 2013.

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