News/Events

Tying the knot: New DNA nanostructures

November 2, 2018

Knots are indispensable tools for such human activities as sailing, fishing and rock climbing, (not to mention, tying shoes).  But tying a knot in a lacelike strand of DNA, measuring just billionths of a meter in length, requires patience and highly specialized expertise. Hao Yan, a researcher at ASU, is a practiced hand in this delicate and exotic field, operating at the crossroads of nanotechnology and fine art. In new research appearing in the journal Nature Communications, Yan...

Hao Yan awarded $1.2 million to create ‘living electronics’

October 18, 2018

Hao Yan, director of the Biodesign Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics, received an extension of the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) grant for his groundbreaking work in nanotechnologies. The additional $1.2 million will help “set the foundation for the bottom-up engineering of synthetic biology tools,” according to Yan. A previous five-year grant of $6.25 million allowed Yan’s team to use structural components of cells to test out fundamental elements and...

Two ASU professors receive 2018 NIH New Innovator Award

October 2, 2018

“No. 1 in innovation” is an accolade ASU proclaims proudly in all realms of university life. Today, ASU proved once again that it is deserving of such a title.      ASU professors, Nicholas Stephanopoulos, assistant professor in the School of Molecular Sciences, and Rizal Hariadi, assistant professor in the Department of Physics, both researchers in the Biodesign Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics, were announced as the recipients of the 2018 NIH New Innovator...

Single-celled architects inspire new nanotechnology

July 16, 2018

Diatoms are tiny, unicellular creatures, inhabiting oceans, lakes, rivers and soils. Through their respiration, they produce close to a quarter of the oxygen on earth, nearly as much as the world’s tropical forests. In addition to their ecological success across the planet, they have a number of remarkable properties. Diatoms live in glasslike homes of their own design, visible under magnification in an astonishing and aesthetically beautiful range of forms. Researchers have found...

Built for speed: DNA nanomachines take a (rapid) step forward

May 7, 2018

When it comes to matching simplicity with staggering creative potential, DNA may hold the prize. Built from an alphabet of just four nucleic acids, DNA provides the floorplan from which all earthly life is constructed. But DNA’s remarkable versatility doesn’t end there. Researchers have managed to coax segments of DNA into performing a host of useful tricks. DNA sequences can form logical circuits for nanoelectronic applications. They have been used to perform sophisticated...

Chinese partners bring strong potential to advance research at Biodesign Institute

January 3, 2018

ASU’s approach toward global research engagement addresses some of the most pressing problems facing us in health today—including global pandemics and a growing cancer incidence in the developing world—that are tied to issues that require multiple, transnational partners to come up with solutions more rapidly. Recently, ASU Biodesign Institute Executive Director Joshua LaBaer led a delegation to visit key Chinese partners to further explore new research possibilities. The stops...

Spaghetti-like, DNA “noodle origami” the new shape of things to come for nanotechnology

December 14, 2017

May one day revolutionize medicine by making and delivering drugs inside cells For the past few decades, scientists have been inspired by the molecule of life, DNA, as the shape of things to come for nanotechnology. This burgeoning field is called DNA origami. Scientists borrowed its moniker from the paper artists who conjure up birds, flowers and planes from imaginatively folding a single sheet of paper. Similarly, DNA origami scientists are dreaming up a variety of shapes ---at a...

Learning from Photosynthesis

November 13, 2017

The green sulfur bacterium makes its home in the chilly waters of the Black Sea. To eek out its lonely existence, this life form scavenges energy from the feeble sunlight available to it at a depth of over 250 feet. Plants perform the same remarkable trick, gathering radiant energy from the sun and converting it to biological energy essential for growth.  This process—perfected over billions of years—is known as photosynthesis. Now, Hao Yan and Neal Woodbury from ASU’s...

Absolute Control Over Light-matter Interaction

June 14, 2017

Ashwin Gopinath, Ph.D., Senior Postdoctoral Scholar in Bioengineering, California Institute of Technology, presents: The interaction between matter and electromagnetic fields is interesting not only for its fundamental significance, but also to enable applications ranging from optical sensing to information processing and communication. The main problem is the technical challenge associated with positioning and orienting a single unit of matter within an arbitrary electromagnetic...

Catching rays with DNA

September 24, 2016

DNA nanotechnology is a field that is one part chemistry and one part architecture, but with scientists using building materials that are 50,000 times smaller than a human hair. Now imagine using the coiled strands of DNA, wrapped end over end, to build tiny robots that could enter the body and deliver drugs exactly where they need to go, or nanoscale solar panels that work to provide more renewable energy. That is the promise, excitement and long term dream of this technology. “I was...