Albany 2015:Book of Abstracts

Albany 2015
Conversation 19
June 9-13 2015
©Adenine Press (2012)

DNA nanotech and super-resolution imaging

I'll discuss how to use DNA to construct and visualize nanoscale structures.

I'll first give an overview of my lab's work in DNA nanotechnology. We have invented a general framework to program DNA/RNA strands to self-assemble into structures with user-specified geometry or dynamics. By interfacing these nanostructures with other functional molecules, we have introduced digital programmability into diverse application areas, e.g. fabrication of inorganic nanoparticles with arbitrary prescribed shapes, robust DNA/RNA probes with near optimal binding specificity, and RNA-based translation regulators with unprecedented dynamic range and orthogonality.

I'll then describe our recent work on DNA-based super-resolution imaging. Due to limitations in current optical microscopy, scientists face three challenges when attempting to image biology on the molecular scale: (1) blurred vision (i.e. difficulty to clearly visualize individual molecules for crowded targets), (2) (partial) color blindness (i.e. difficulty to simultaneously track distinct species with many colors due to spectral overlap), and (3) ambiguous quantification (i.e. difficulty to precisely count the number of targets in a resolution-limited area). Using programmable fluorescent DNA probes, we developed a highly multiplexed (10x demonstrated), precisely quantitative (>90% precision), and ultra-high resolution (sub-5 nm) optical imaging method that promises to simultaneously address these challenges and broadly transform biomedical research.

For details of our work, see:

Peng Yin

Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering
Harvard University
Boston, MA 02115