DISRUPTIVE Episode #5: MOLECULAR ROBOTICS
Hello, I’m Terrence McNally and you’re listening to Disruptive, the podcast from Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically-Inspired Engineering.
I thought I knew what DNA was. I knew it carried genetic information. I’d seen the picture of the double-helix at least a hundred times.
Imagine what it took for us to figure that out. And the shifts in perspective that that understanding made possible.
But we have taken our understanding of DNA to another level. We’re beginning to take advantage of some of the properties of DNA that have served nature so well – but in ways that nature may never have pursued.
We build with it. We tap its capacity to carry information to enhance our ability to see and to study molecular interactions and the inner life of cells.
As a medium for nano-scale engineering, DNA is smart, tough, flexible – and programmable. New methods in DNA self-assembly enable the precise engineering of nano-scale structures to produce revolutionary devices in computer science, microscopy, biology, and more.
I’m going to speak about this cutting-edge work with Wyss Institute core faculty members William Shih and Peng Yin and associate faculty member Wesley Wong.
The mission of the Wyss Institute is to transform healthcare, industry, and the environment by emulating the way nature builds.
Our bodies – and all living systems – accomplish tasks far more sophisticated and dynamic than any entity yet designed by humans.
By emulating nature’s principles for self-organizing and self-regulating, Wyss research develops innovative engineering solutions for healthcare, energy, architecture, robotics, and manufacturing.
William Shih is an associate professor in the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School and the Department of Cancer Biology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He oversees an effort to apply synthetic biology approaches to the development of self-assembling DNA nano-structures and devices for use in biomedical applications. In 2008, Shih received a New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health.
Welcome, William Shih, to Disruptive.
Thanks, happy to be here.