News/Events

Top-down design brings new DNA structures to life

May 26, 2016

Among the valuable holdings in London’s Wellcome Library is a rough pencil sketch made in 1953 by Francis Crick. The drawing is one of the first to show the double-helix structure of DNA—Nature’s blueprint for the design of sea snails, human beings, and every other living form on earth. Few could have predicted however, that DNA’s simple properties of self-assembly, and its versatile information-carrying capacity, could be put to many uses never imagined by DNA pioneers Watson and...

Chemical Cages: new technique advances synthetic biology

February 10, 2016

Living systems rely on a dizzying variety of chemical reactions essential to development and survival. Most of these involve a specialized class of protein molecules—the enzymes. In a new study, Hao Yan, director of the Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute presents a clever means of localizing and confining enzymes and the substrate molecules they bind with, speeding up reactions essential for life processes. The research, which...

Rare form: novel structures built from DNA emerge

July 20, 2015

DNA, the molecular foundation of life, has new tricks up its sleeve. The four bases from which it is composed snap together like jigsaw pieces and can be artificially manipulated to construct endlessly varied forms in two and three dimensions. The technique, known as DNA origami, promises to bring futuristic microelectronics and biomedical innovations to market. Hao Yan, a researcher at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute, has worked for many years to refine the technique....

Catch-Release-Repeat. Study reveals novel technique for handling molecules

March 23, 2015

Like vast international trading companies, biological systems pick up freight items (in the form of small molecules), transport them from place to place and release them at their proper destination. These ubiquitous processes are critical for activities ranging from photosynthesis to neuronal signaling.  The efficient capture, transport and release of molecules is also vital for the maintenance of equilibrium (or homeostasis), essential to all living things.  In research...

DNA nanotechnology places enzyme catalysis within an arm's length for biomedical applications

May 25, 2014

  Using molecules of DNA like an architectural scaffold, Arizona State University scientists, in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Michigan, have developed a 3-D artificial enzyme cascade that mimics an important biochemical pathway that could prove important for future biomedical and energy applications. The findings were published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. Led by ASU Professor Hao Yan, the research team included ASU Biodesign Institute researchers...

Biodesign plays host to DNA19 Conference

October 22, 2013

Sixty years ago, James D. Watson and Francis H. Crick revealed the corkscrew structure of DNA—the molecule of life. Today, the insights and innovations produced by the discovery of the double helix have spread to scientific realms the pair could scarcely have imagined.  Recently, researchers from around the world converged on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus for the 19th International Conference on DNA Computing and Molecular Programming.  The gathering,...

ASU appoints Hao Yan as director of new Center for Molecular Design and Biomimicry

October 10, 2013

ASU Professor Hao Yan has been appointed as leader of a new effort to advance 21st century discoveries that will have a major impact on the fields of biomedicine, energy research and bioelectronics, called the Center for Molecular Design and Biomimicry (CMDB).  “With the formation of the first ASU Center entirely devoted to biomimicry, Hao Yan’s considerable leadership and expertise will serve as a major catalyst in developing a world-class research initiative that seeks to better...

ASU Biodesign Institute scientists develop innovative twists to DNA nanotechnology

March 21, 2013

In a new discovery that represents a major step in solving a critical design challenge, Arizona State University Professor Hao Yan has led a research team to produce a wide variety of 2-D and 3-D structures that push the boundaries of the burgeoning field of DNA nanotechnology. The field of DNA nanotechnology utilizes nature’s design rules and the chemical properties of DNA to self-assemble into an increasingly complex menagerie of molecules for biomedical and electronic applications. Some...

ASU fetes Hao Yan as inaugural Glick Chair

September 24, 2012

In a celebration before a packed house at the Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University professor Hao Yan was honored as the inaugural Milton D. Glick Distinguished Chair of Chemistry and Biochemistry. The award is named for chemistry professor Milton “Milt” Glick who passed away last year. Glick came to ASU in the early 1990s and served for 15 years--first as senior vice president and then as ASU’s chief academic officer as provost and executive vice president before assuming the...

ASU professor Hao Yan receives prestigious $6.25 million multi-disciplinary research award from Department of Defense

July 3, 2012

Arizona State University professor Hao Yan, an innovator in the field of nanotechnology, has been selected to receive a five-year, $6.25 million basic research award under the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program. The highly competitive MURI program will award a total of $155 million over the next five years for 23 research projects, subject to the availability of federal appropriations. “The ability of ASU to successfully...