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'
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.
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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