Nucleotides and the art of DNA nanostructuring


Nucleotides and the art of DNA nanostructuring

ChemEng Theatre (G20)
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Building 1


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The integration of biology into synthetic systems is an exciting concept and humans have much to learn from how nature appears to seamlessly undertake programmable assembly. Through this process exquisitely engineered structures with both function and hierarchy can be produced. Mimicking, and even designing, biologically inspired structures within the laboratory is far from trivial and while we understand how the programming works – via the classic Watson-Crick mechanism or non-canonical binding - we are far from elucidating how to do this in the laboratory with precision and on large enough scales to be applied to such applications as diagnostics, antimicrobials or DNA templating.

This talk will introduce the use of dynamic DNA displacement reactions as a mechanism of genotyping. These reactions utilise the intrinsic programmability of DNA to identify short tandem repeats (STRs) and single nucleotide polymorphs (SNPs) with real-life DNA. When the DNA is coupled with a fluorescent dye/quencher system reaction rates can be used to determine anomalies in the target molecules. The talk will also describe recent synthesis of nucleotide functionalised monomers, polymerisable by reversible addition fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerisation in attempts to create DNA templates. Finally, the talk will highlight work in the application of guanine-rich DNA folded into G-quadruplexes (G4's) and coupled with the antibiotic oxacillin as an effective antibiotic against Staphylococcus aureus biofilms and how G4's can be used in our new Open Circuit ELectrOn Transfer (OCELOT) microfluidic devices.


  • Professor Amanda V. Ellis
    Professor Amanda V. Ellis, The University of Melbourne