molpigs, The Molecular Programming Interest Group, is an international group of researchers interested in topics such as molecular programming, DNA computing, and other aspects of biomolecular nanotechnology. We host regular seminars, poster sessions, journal clubs, send out newsletters, and host a forum for discussion and fostering collaboration.
Hello and welcome back to the molpigs newsletter! The molpigs Forum has been launched!
- [Now live and ready to watch!] Brenda Rubenstein: Storage and Computing with Small Molecules: A Tutorial
- [Coming next week, Nov 18th — ask your questions now!] Meet the Molecular Programmer: #1 Rebecca Schulman
- Job Advertisement: PostDoc position at the Halvorsen Lab, UAlbany
- Job Advertisement: Junior scientist at Nanovery
- Interested in helping out, sharing something interesting, or have an idea for something we could do?
1. Brenda Rubenstein: Storage and Computing with Small Molecules: A Tutorial
Our first ‘event’ is now live! This is a tutorial given by Brenda Rubenstein at Brown University on her group’s work to use small molecules for storage and computation. Check it out here!
Abstract: As transistors near the size of molecules, computer engineers are increasingly finding themselves asking a once idle question: how can we store information in and compute using chemistry? While molecular storage and computation have traditionally leveraged the sequence diversity of polymers such as DNA, our team has recently demonstrated that vast amounts of information can also be stored in unordered mixtures of small molecules. In this tutorial, I will begin by explaining this new, more general molecular storage paradigm and how polymers fit into it. I will then describe how our team has married combinatorial chemical synthesis with high resolution spectrometry to experimentally realize this paradigm and store GBs of information in small molecules and metabolites. Lastly, I will end with a discussion of how these storage principles can be combined with machine learning techniques to realize fully molecular neural networks for pattern recognition and image processing. The new paradigm discussed in this tutorial will lend itself to new means of increasing molecular storage capacity and interpreting the many small molecule chemistries that underlie “computing” within the body.
Biography: Dr. Brenda Rubenstein is currently the Joukowsky Family Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Brown University. While the focus of her work is on developing new electronic structure methods, she is also deeply engaged in rethinking computing architectures. Prior to arriving at Brown, she was a Lawrence Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. She received her Sc.B.s in Chemical Physics and Applied Mathematics at Brown University, her M.Phil. in Computational Chemistry while a Churchill Scholar at the University of Cambridge, and her Ph.D. in Chemical Physics at Columbia University. Ask her about basketball - you may be surprised!
We want to hear your questions and thoughts so we can ask our speakers! Please fill out our form (anonymously if you wish), and we’ll select the best to ask on your behalf. We also hope our speakers will stick around to answer questions on molpigs forum.
2. Meet the Molecular Programmer: #1 Rebecca Schulman
Rebecca Schulman, associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, is an expert in developing programmable, active devices that self-assemble from DNA. Her group focuses on molecular electronic devices and tools for biological and biophysical research.
Schulman has received an NSF CAREER Award, DOE Early Career Award, Turing Scholar Award, DARPA Young Faculty Award, and a DARPA Director’s fellowship. Her work received best at conference awards at the 2017 Foundations of Nanoscience Conference (FNANO17) and the 2014 DNA Computing and Molecular Programming Conference (DNA20).
Schulman earned BS degrees in mathematics and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1999 and her PhD in computation and neural systems from the California Institute of Technology in 2007. She was a post-doctoral scholar in computer science at the California Institute of Technology and a Miller Postdoctoral Fellow in physics at the University of California, Berkeley.
We will chat with Rebecca on Nov. 18th. Please submit your questions!
3. Job Advertisement: PostDoc position at the Halvorsen Lab, UAlbany
The Halvorsen lab at UAlbany’s RNA Institute is looking for a postdoc. Please see the lab webpage for more details on the research topics (DNA nanotechnology, single molecule biophysics, and biosensing).
Interested applicants can contact Ken.
4. Job Advertisement: Junior scientist at Nanovery
Nanovery is a startup applying DNA-nanotechnology to cancer diagnostics. They are looking to hire ambitious scientists for their first major research and development project. Please contact Roma Galloway directly if you are interested.
5. Interested in helping out, sharing something interesting, or have an idea for something we could do?
If so, please get in touch with us! Shoot us an email at
contributions AT <this domain>, there are loads of ways you can get involved, and many we haven’t even thought of, but here’s a few ideas of what you could do:
- Be a guest on our podcast series: you can talk about anything vaguely related to the field, whether it’s comments on life as a student/researcher, some thoughts you’ve had about the field, some interesting work you want to share, or if you want to speak out about something like mental health, this is the perfect place to do it!
- Present a poster-podcast! This is something we’re very excited to try out, and we hope you feel the same: the idea is to try to explain something (it doesn’t have to be your own work) within a 20-30 minute podcast, with the challenge that all reference material needs to fit into a poster format.
- Want to advertise something on our newsletter? Perhaps you’ve just passed your thesis defence, or are looking for a team for a hackathon, or have a job posting to share, or have just written a blog post you think might be of interest; whatever the case we’d love to help you share the good news!
- We’re also open to more conventional seminar-esque things like talks or journal clubs.
We’re looking forward to getting to hearing from you, and getting to know you better!