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Specialized iNANO Lecture: Using Nature’s “Tricks” to Design and Optimize DNA-based Sensors

Francesco Ricci, Laboratory of Biosensors & Nanomachines, University of Rome, Tor Vergata

Info about event


Thursday 11 June 2015,  at 15:15 - 16:00


iNANO auditorium (1593-012), Gustav Wieds Vej 14, 8000 Aarhus C

Francesco Ricci

Associate professor Francesco Ricci, Laboratory of Biosensors & Nanomachines, University of Rome, Tor Vergata

Using Nature’s “Tricks” to Design and Optimize DNA-based Sensors

Nature employs biomolecular receptors such as proteins and nucleic acids for high affinity, high specificity recognition of an enormous range of molecular targets. Such naturally-occurring receptors are based on different recognition mechanisms that allow to reach optimal specificity and sensitivity. Moreover, during millions of years of evolution, Nature has invented a number of “tricks” by which the input/output behavior of such receptors can be finely tuned and optimized.

Motivated by the above observations during the last years we have reported several DNA-based sensors and nanomachines that mimic and exploit in-vitro naturally occurring recognition mechanisms. More specifically we have rationally engineered DNA optical and electrochemical sensors to recreate in-vitro different target-induced conformational-change mechanisms that can be efficiently applied for diagnostic applications.

By taking inspiration from Nature, we have also recreated in-vitro different biochemical control mechanisms such as allostery and Hill-type cooperativity to shift, extend, narrow or otherwise optimize the response of our DNA-based sensors.

During my talk I will give an overview of the most representative and recent results achieved in our lab in the above research directions and I will also briefly present the new routes and possibilities that these results offer.


Host: Assistant professor Ebbe Sloth Andersen, Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center, Aarhus University