Some of my writing pieces featured in magazines and guest blogs.
Building Nanoscale Structures with DNA | the scientist
DNA—the biological information-storage unit and the mechanism by which traits are passed on from generation to generation—is more than just an essential molecule of life. In the chemical sense, the nucleic acid has properties that make it useful for nonbiological applications. Researchers are now using DNA to store massive amounts of data, for example, including books and images, a Shakespearean sonnet, and even a computer operating system, with data encoded in the molecule’s nucleotide sequences. At an even more fundamental level, DNA is a critical building block of nanoscale shapes and structures. Researchers have created myriad nanoscale objects and devices using the nucleic acid, with applications in biosensing, drug delivery, biomolecular analysis, and molecular computation, to name but a few. DNA provides a highly specific route to building nanostructures. While the field is still addressing how to scale up into the micrometer range, it is possible to imagine a future with DNA-based computer chips performing calculations and DNA nanobots delivering personalized medicine to target sites in the human body.
A DNA-based rewritable memory device | Nanowerk
DNA-based information storage has many advantages including longevity (DNA has a half-life of ~500 years) and ability for highly dense storage (∼1 million terabytes/cu mm), and is more suited for archival storage of data. However, reading only portions of the stored message is hard since entire libraries of DNA strands have to be sequenced. Also, sequencing DNA is an elaborate and (for now) costly method. In our recent paper in Nucleic Acids Research, we use shape-changing DNA nanostructures for short term storage of data, where the information is "written" in different conformations of the nanostructures. The stored data can be easily read-out using gel electrophoresis, eliminating any multi-step or costly methods. Moreover, the written information can be erased and rewritten, with our strategy also providing a write-protection function (to prevent erasing of specific bits).