Research > Molecular Programming & Synthetic Biology
The goal of molecular programming research is to examine and develop chemical systems as an information technology. Starting with macromolecules defined by their information content — such as DNA, RNA, and proteins with a particular sequence — the first task is to design sequences that imbue the molecule with a target function, such as folding into a particular shape or acting as a molecular machine. When multiple such molecules are designed to interact, they can self-assemble into complex structures or behave as biochemical circuits for controlling molecular processes.Molecular programming entails formalizing models of molecular system behavior and developing systematic methods for their design and analysis.
In CMS, research focuses on models for molecular programming of folding, self-assembly, chemical reaction networks, and molecular robotics. This enables theoretical investigations of molecular information processing, molecular complexity theory, probabilistic computation, free energy landscapes, metastable systems, and fundamental limits. With a focus on nucleic acid nanotechnology and synthetic biology, we are also developing abstractions, programming languages, design algorithms, verification tools, and compilers that translate high-level specifications into molecular sequences that can be synthesized in the laboratory.
Recent Research Talks
Analysis and Design of Biomolecular Feedback Systems - Richard Murray 4/19/12
Introduction to the 2012 workshop on Control Theory in Biology - Richard Murray 4/19/12
Feedback and Control in Biological Circuit Design - Richard Murray 11/10/10
DNA folding, in detail - Paul Rothemund 2/08
CNS 100. Introduction to Computation and Neural Systems.
Psy/CNS 105A. Frontiers in Neuroeconomics.
CS/CNS/EE/NB 154. Artificial Intelligence.
CS/CNS/EE 156 ab. Learning Systems.
CNS/Bi/EE/CS/NB 186. Vision: From Computational Theory to Neuronal Mechanisms.
CNS/Bi/Ph/CS/NB 187. Neural Computation.
BE/CS/CNS/Bi 191 ab. Biomolecular Computation.
BE/CS 196 ab. Design and Construction of Programmable Molecular Systems.