"Building with biomolecules: synthetic biology from the bottom up"

10 November 2016

by Professor Andrew Tuberfield 

Department of Physics, University of Oxford

Wednesday 16th November 2016 

3pm - 4pm 

Ramsay Lecture Theatre

Prof. Andrew Tuberfield will be at UCL on Wednesday 16th November to give a joint seminar to Chemistry and Physics.  He has been awarded the IOP Tom Duke Prize Lecture on Biological Physics, hosted by the London Centre for Nanotechnology and the UCL Departments of Physics & Astronomy and Chemistry. He is one of the world leaders in Biological Physics and self assembly. 


Nanofabrication by biomolecular self-assembly can be used to create atomically precise, nanometre-scale structures. The control offered by DNA-self-assembly is spectacular: thousands of oligonucleotides can be designed to form rigid, three-dimensional complexes with defined contours and internal cavities. Each oligonucleotide has a unique sequence which defines its position in these structures, and chemically modified oligonucleotides can be used to position other molecular components. Synthetic nucleic acids can also form programmable dynamic systems which compute and exhibit complex temporal behaviours. RNA can be programmed to assemble within cells, and devices formed from nucleic acids can couple to and interact with living systems. Peptides and proteins can also be used for molecular-scale construction: they offer chemical diversity and naturally evolved functions at the expense of a less predictable set of assembly rules. I shall survey this rapidly evolving research field and its potential to provide new tools and technologies from biophysics to manufacture to medicine.