ISU Presentation and Workshop

ISU Presentation

Time: Friday, March 20, 3:30 – 4:30 pm, room 231 Carver Science

Title: DNA Nanotechnology: The Programmable Building Block of Life


DNA is a robust, reliable molecule used by cells to encode genes. These genes then directly control the functions of cells. DNA has many advantages for storing information, such as its periodic, helical structure and its well-understood Watson-Crick base pair formation. In addition to it’s prolific use in nature for storing information, DNA is also useful for creating nanotechnology in the lab. In this talk, we will introduce DNA nanotechnology and its applications. Topics we will cover include DNA Strand Displacement, DNA Tiling, and DNA Origami. We will also discuss current research in DNA Origami being conducted in our lab at Iowa State University.


Divita Mathur. Divita is a PhD student in the Bioinformatics & Computational Biology Program at Iowa State. Her interests lie in harnessing the potential of DNA as a building material to make small (really small!) nanomachines. She believes that DNA not only holds the instruction manual for all life on Earth, but possesses the power to be a great ingredient to create useful shapes at the nanoscale. Her work focusses on finding new ways of DNA self-assembly, application of DNA nanostructures and understanding programming with DNA.

Brian Nakayama. Brian is a PhD student in the Computer Science Department at Iowa State. His research focuses on applying computational theory and methods on DNA nanosystems. He is often fascinated by the computations intrinsic to biological life, and he enjoys the interdisciplinary field of DNA nanotechnology. He believes there are a lot of open opportunities in the field for new researchers, and he is excited to share his passion for DNA nanotech with curious students.

Workshop with ISU on modeling Chemical Reactions Networks

Wednesday April 8

4 pm – 7 pm in Carver 233/233A

Titus Klinge and James Lathrop

Iowa State University

Laboratory for Molecular Programming (LAMP)

Biochemical Reaction Networks (BRNs) are often used to describe systems of chemical reactions and the rules by which the reactants combine and form product chemicals. It has recently been discovered that arbitrary BRNs may be realized by DNA nanostructures and thus allowing programmers to create BRN programs that compute with matter. In this hand-on workshop participants will learn to use Matlab and the SimBiology package to enter and simulate BRNs. Participants will further learn how to build BRNs to compute some common functions found in computer science. If time permits, participants will learn the basic ideas behind verification and will use the SMART verification tool to verify a few simple properties of a BRN.