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Cafe Synthetique: DNA Self Assembly, Origami and more

In October's Cafe Synthetique, Kerstin Göpfrich from the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research will speak on DNA 'origami', in 'DNA nanotechnology for artificial ion channels and synthetic cells'; and Lorenzo di Michele from The Department of Physics, will present a talk about 'Amphiphilic DNA Complexes: From Biomimetic Membrane Linkers to Molecular Crystals'
When Oct 16, 2017
from 06:00 PM to 08:00 PM
Where The Panton Arms, Panton Street, CB2 1HL
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Kerstin Göpfrich will speak on how DNA is used to build synthetic membrane-inserting channels. From creating the largest man-made pore in a lipid membrane to date, approaching the electrical diameter of the nuclear pore complex, to,  pushing the boundaries at the other end of the spectrum - the construction of the smallest DNA membrane pore made from a single membrane-spanning DNA duplex.

Kerstin will look into the function of this type of DNA architectural origami,  and discuss how DNA nanotechnology can enhance synthetic cells, introducing a new microfluidic method for the sequential bottom-up assembly of synthetic cells.

DNA Origami

Synthetic DNA nanostructures can also be designed to replicate the structure and function of biological molecules, as well as to create novel synthetic materials. A combination of selective Watson-Crick interactions and robust hydrophobic forces can be realised in amphiphilic nanostructures where nonpolar tags are arranged onto engineered DNA scaffolds. 

Lorenzo will discuss the use of amphiphilic DNA ligands/receptors to drive attractive interactions between lipid vesicles, sharing key features with adhering biological cells and displaying an intriguing response to external stimuli. He will also introduce a range of amphiphilic DNA nanostructures that reliably self-assemble into 3D macromolecular crystals - and look into the long-standing goal of structural DNA nanotechnology.


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The Synthetic Biology Strategic Research Initiative provides a hub for anyone interested in Synthetic Biology at the University of Cambridge, as well as commercial partners and external collaborators.