The founding father of DNA nanotechnology – a field that forges tiny geometric building blocks from DNA strands – recently came to SLAC to get a new view of these creations using powerful X-ray laser pulses.
For decades, Nadrian C. "Ned" Seeman, a chemistry professor at New York University, has studied ways to assemble DNA strands into geometric shapes and 3-D crystals with applications in biology, biocomputing and nanorobotics.
Daniel DePonte, a pioneer in finding ways to serve up a steady and precise supply of crystals, viruses and other precious samples for laser experiments, is the newly hired sample-delivery group leader for SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source X-ray laser.
Understanding why proteins interact with certain specific molecules and not with the myriad others in their environment is a major goal of molecular biology. Now, in a series of recent papers, researchers describe how they designed proteins from scratch to have a high affinity and high specificity for targets on flu viruses, and then validated the two best designs using X-ray diffraction data collected at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL).
If the excitement and enthusiasm of young scientists like Eric Verploegen could be pumped directly into the power grid, the world's energy problems could be solved tomorrow.
It can't, though. So Verploegen has made it his goal to channel his energy into looking for solutions the old-fashioned way – hard work, and lots of it.