Engineering Life

Initiative Munich

What we do

Understanding and engineering the basic principles of life

 Our mission is to advance the understanding of the physics of living systems across scales to bring solutions to some of the world’s most pressing bioengineering and health issues. To achieve this, we combine novel physics-centered experimental methods, system-level computational approaches, and conceptual bottom-up theory to decipher the physical laws governing the dynamic organization of life from molecules to cells. We re-engineer life-like processes and systems by employing state-of-the-art technologies and by developing novel life-inspired approaches. Our initiative is jointly supported by the LMU Center for NanoScience, the LMU Gene Center, and the LMU Arnold Sommerfeld Center for Theoretical Physics.

 Engineering Life Seminar (hybrid)

May 19 at 5.00 pm CEST

Hao Yan
Arizona State Universit

Designer Nucleic Acid Architectures for Programmable Self-assembly

DNA and RNA has emerged as an exceptional molecular building block for nano-construction due to its predictable conformation and programmable intra- and inter-molecular base pairing interactions. A variety of convenient design rules and reliable assembly methods have been developed to engineer DNA nanostructures of increasing complexity. The ability to create designer DNA architectures with accurate spatial control has allowed researchers to explore novel applications in many directions, such as directed material assembly, structural biology, biocatalysis, DNA computing, nano-robotics, disease diagnosis, and drug delivery. In this talk I will discuss some of our work in the field of structural nucleic acid nanotechnology, and present some of the challenges and opportunities that exist in DNA and RNA based molecular design and programming. Specifically, I will discuss some of the new designs for 3D DNA crystals and the use of the crystals as host to organize guest molecules and visualize their atomic level structures. I will discuss the use of DNA template to organize dye molecules for long range energy transfer over sub-micron distances for potential light harvesting applications. I will also discuss our progress in using DNA and RNA nanotechnology for biomedical applications.

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Upcoming seminars

May 19, 2022
Hao Yan, Arizona State University
Designer Nucleic Acid Architectures for Programmable Self-assembly

June 2, 2022
Clifford Brangwynne, Princeton University

June 30, 2022
Ebbe Sloth Andersen, Aarhus University
RNA origami: The art of folding an RNA strand to create nanoscale shapes

July 14, 2022
Kate Adamala, University of Minnesota

July 28, 2022
Jan-Philipp Junker, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine

Past seminars

Joachim Spatz

MPI for Medical Research Heidelberg

Matter to Life: Bottom-Up Assembly of Synthetic Cells

Stirling Churchman

Harvard Medical School

The dynamics of gene expression, from the nucleus to mitochondria

Donald E. Ingber

Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University

Human Organ Chips: Reverse Engineering Human Biology for Medical Applications

Jochen Guck

MPI for the Science of Light

Physical states of cells somewhere between life and death

L. Mahadevan

Harvard university

Controlling active matter

Alena Khmelinskaia

University of Bonn

Expanding the repertoire of de novo protein assemblies

Andrew Ellington

University of Texas at Austin

Changing the building blocks of life

Steffen Rulands

MPI for the Physics of Complex Systems

Understanding collective processes in the cell nucleus using single-cell genomics

Cameron Myhrvold

Princeton University

CRISPR-based technologies for detecting and destroying RNA viruses

Cathleen Zeymer

TU München

Design and engineering of lanthanide-binding proteins: from de novo metal coordination to catalysis

Hans Clevers

Hubrecht Institute Utrecht

Organoids to model human diseases

Irene Chen

University of California at Los Angeles

Emergent by-products of RNA evolution

Stephan W. Grill

MPI of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics

Condensation of proteins on and with DNA

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