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Linking Bio and Nano... an Extended Discussion 2004-2005



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Connecting artificial nanotechnology to biological systems is a topic of great interest these days, but the interfaces between electronic, mechanical, and biological systems have always been less than intimate. In late 1990s, MEMs began to bridge the divide between electronics and mechanical systems, and now MEMs are everywhere. Electronic devices have now been scaled to nanometer dimensions, and nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) are also being explored. Has the scaling of electronic and mechanical devices reached a point where we can begin to bridge the remaining divide between electronic and mechanical systems and living systems?

The human genome project demonstrated that traditional biological analysis could benefit greatly from a system level integration of electronics, optoelectronics, computation, and automation within a single framework. The question now is: Are electronic and mechanical devices becoming small enough, inexpensive enough, sensitive enough, reliable enough, application-rich enough that we can explore the possibility of heterogeneous integration of biology and electronics within a single IC? What do biologists, chemists, and device physicists, and system architects think of the prospects (or limitations) of such integration? Are there features of nanoscale systems and problems in biology and medicine that make this integration worth exploring? There have been recent groundbreaking advances in electronic and MEMs-based sensors responsive to biological molecules. How far have we traveled along in these research directions, and are there other topics that we should be exploring? These questions will be the focus of an Extended Discussion during the 2004-2005 academic year.

This Extended Discussion is a series of seminars in which high-profile speakers present their views on the challenges and opportunities in connecting nano- and biotechnology. It is co-sponsored by the NSF-funded Network for Computational Nanotechnology (NCN), and the NASA-funded Institute for Nanoelectronics and Computing (INAC). Our objective is to assess the state of the art, identify research opportunities and issues, and discover opportunities for productive collaborations involving theory and experiment. The talks will be videotaped and posted on as a community resource and a vehicle to encourage discussion and debate.

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  • (2004), "Linking Bio and Nano... an Extended Discussion 2004-2005,"

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In This Series

  1. Nanosystems Biology

    10 Sep 2004 | Online Presentations | Contributor(s): James R. Heath

    As we enter the 21st century, we stand at a major inflection point for biology and medicine-the way we view and practice these disciplines is changing profoundly. These changes are being driven by systems biology, a new approach to biology, and which will increasingly transform medicine from...

  2. Interfacing Carbon Nanotubes with Biological Systems: From Biosensors to Cellular Transporters

    21 Oct 2004 | Online Presentations | Contributor(s): Hongjie Dai

    This talk will discuss two relatively new topics in carbon nanotube research. The first is nanotubes for chemical and biological sensors, an exploration motivated by the ultra high surface area of single walled carbon nanotubes and the need for label free electronic detectors for a wide range of...

  3. Computational Prototyping Tools For Biological Applications

    03 Dec 2004 | Online Presentations | Contributor(s): Jacob White

    Computational tools are playing a rapidly expanding role in biology, both for engineering design and in exploratory science. The main reason is that the dramatic improvements in the measurement and mathematical modeling of basic biochemical and biological processes is making it possible to...

  4. Computer-Aided Analysis and Design of Bio-molecules

    10 Mar 2005 | Online Presentations | Contributor(s): Jaydeep Bardhan

    Computer simulation of bio-molecules has become a valuable tool for the pharmaceutical industry, promising not only the potential to predict binding affinities for trial drugs, but also the ability to probe molecular interactions in ways that lab experiments cannot. This seminar will present one...

  5. Construction of an Imitating Nano-motor Driven by Six ATP-binding RNAs of Bacterial Virus phi29

    02 Dec 2004 | Online Presentations | Contributor(s): Peixuan Guo

    A switchable imitating DNA-packaging motor was constructed in the laboratory. The motor is driven by six synthetic ATP-binding pRNA (packaging RNA) molecules that bind to the connector and function in a manner similar to the driving of a bolt with a hex nut. Conformational change and sequential...

  6. Bioinformatics and Systems Biology: At the Crossroads of Biology, Engineering, and Computation

    08 Oct 2004 | Online Presentations | Contributor(s): Shankar Subramaniam

    Traditional biological research has relied on a "deconstructive" mode where piece-wise analysis of the components of complex systems was carried out in detail. The genome projects have spurred the discovery of new genes/molecules to add to the existing inventory of "parts" that make up living..., a resource for nanoscience and nanotechnology, is supported by the National Science Foundation and other funding agencies. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.