Date: Tuesday, February 2, 2021
Time: 11:00 am
Talk Title: A Tale of 2 Strands: From Genomes to Origami, Vaccines, Data Storage, and Back
Society faces innumerable grand challenges in the 21st Century, ranging from uncontrolled pathogenic outbreaks to exponentially growing data and computational needs that exceed the world’s supply of silicon, to next-generation sensing requirements for safe autonomous vehicle navigation and health monitoring. As scientists explore diverse material substrates to help address these challenges, DNA has emerged as a powerful biological medium due to its unique ability to fabricate arbitrary, virus-like structures at the nanometer-scale, store information at a density that vastly exceeds even flash memory, perform logic-based sensing and computing, as well as organize photonic elements to mimic quantum processes in photosynthetic bacteria and plants. In this presentation I will share our work in several of these areas, with a focus on fabricating virus-like particles to rapidly screen vaccine candidates for emergent pathogens, and using DNA as a “hard-drive” with random access capabilities that could in principle operate at the yottabyte-scale for archival data.
Dr. Mark Bathe is a Professor in the Department of Biological Engineering at MIT, Associate Member of the Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard, and Co-Director of the MIT New Engineering Education Transformation. He obtained his Doctoral Degree at MIT working in the Departments of Mechanical, Chemical, and Biological Engineering before moving to the University of Munich to carry out his postdoctoral research in Biological Physics. He returned to MIT in 2009 to join the faculty in the Department of Biological Engineering, where he runs an interdisciplinary research group focused on engineering nucleic acids for application to vaccines, therapeutic delivery, structural biology, and computing.