During the 20th century computer technology evolved from bulky, slow, special purpose mechanical engines to the now ubiquitous silicon chips and software that are one of the pinnacles of human ingenuity. The goal of the field of molecular programming is to take the next leap and build a new generation of matter-based computers using DNA, RNA and proteins. This will be accomplished by computer scientists, physicists and chemists designing molecules to execute ``wet'' nanoscale programs in test tubes. The workflow includes proposing theoretical models, mathematically proving their computational properties, physical modelling and implementation in the wet-lab.
The past decade has seen remarkable progress at building static 2D and 3D DNA nanostructures. However, unlike biological macromolecules and complexes that are built via specified self-assembly pathways, that execute robotic-like movements, and that undergo evolution, the activity of human-engineered nanostructures is severely limited. We will need sophisticated algorithmic ideas to build structures that rival active living systems. Active-DNA, aims to address this challenge by achieving a number of objectives on computation, DNA-based self-assembly and molecular robotics. Active-DNA research work will range from defining models and proving theorems that characterise the computational and expressive capabilities of such active programmable materials to experimental work implementing active DNA nanostructures in the wet-lab.
Call for proposal
See other projects for this call