ChEMS Seminar: Synthetic Nucleic Acid Topology and Colloidal LEGO-like Nanoparticles for Biological and Plasmonic Applications

McDonnell Douglas Engineering Auditorium (MDEA)
Yossi Weizmann

Department of Chemistry
The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Abstract: The iconic double helical structure of DNA has excited the imagination of both scientists and non-scientists for more than six decades. In recent times, the programmable nature of DNA has redefined its use as a powerful building material for the construction of precisely defined 2D and 3-D nanoscale assemblies. The term “DNA structure” combines the chemical, stereochemical and biological advantages into one focus that can be applied to a wide range of scientific fields. The Weizmann group aims to demonstrate novel approaches that take DNA philosophy to a new level, with the potential application of DNA structure in biology, material science and nanomedicine studies. We focus on the fundamental design, functions and applications of highly programmable nucleic acids nanostructures. Our main research objective is the development of novel strategies and approaches providing versatile tools to form composite, nano-scaled, precisely-controlled structures and ultra-sensitive DNA machineries. The following research fields will be represented: (a) Design and applications of novel synthetic molecular topologies from programmable nucleic acids and their biological consequences for enzyme mechanisms, drug discovery and drug delivery. (b) Synthesis of programmable assemblies of colloidal LEGO-like nanoparticles with specific and anisotropic-bonding directionality for applications in self-assembly, plasmonics and photothermal energy conversion for nucleic acids amplification.

Bio: Yossi Weizmann is an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Chicago. He received his doctorate from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel and carried out his postdoctoral studies in material chemistry in the laboratory of Professor Timothy Swager at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2011, he joined the faculty at the University of Chicago where he heads a research group focused on the design and construction of synthetic nucleic acid structure and topology for biomedical and biomimetic applications, and synthesis of metallic nanoparticles for plasmonic bio-applications. Weizmann received the NSF CAREER Award (2016), University of Chicago Innovation Fund Award (2016), and ACS Young Academic Investigators Award Symposium (2017). 

Host: Alon Gorodetsky