DNA Programmed Nanomechanical Systems for Biosensing Applications

Date(s) - 03/22/2021
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Virtual via Zoom

Jing Pan, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, University of Florida


Abstract: DNA is a versatile material suitable for various engineering applications. Although it is traditionally studied for its role in biological systems, recent advances in reading and writing DNA sequences have made it possible to use DNA in novel technologies such as nano-manufacturing and molecular computation. My talk will demonstrate examples where the information-encoding capability of DNA is harnessed to program nanomechanical systems for biosensing applications. In the first project, I will discuss a DNA-based synthetic molecular motor that actively transports nanoparticles, mimicking biological motor proteins. We developed both experimental and theoretical tools to control nanoparticle motility by tuning DNA sequences. In the second example, I will discuss modulating the mechanics of DNA self-assembled nanostructures. We demonstrated the conformation of DNA origami structure can be dynamically and progressively tuned by controlling DNA helicity. Lastly, I will demonstrate an application of DNA molecular switches in continuous glucose/insulin monitoring in live animal. I will conclude the talk with current and future projects my lab is developing at UF.


Biography: Dr. Jing Pan is an assistant professor in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Florida. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University (2017). During his Ph.D., Dr. Jing Pan worked on engineering DNA-based synthetic motors and optical biosensors in Prof. Jong Hyun Choi’s lab.  He conducted his postdoctoral research in Prof. Tom Soh’s lab at Stanford University where he worked on designing switchable affinity reagents for biomedical sensing applications. He joined the University of Florida in 2020 and his current research focuses on engineering nucleic acid-based nanostructures and exploring their emerging applications in healthcare and agriculture.