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! As well as Brenda’s fantastic tutorial last week, we now have two podcasts for you to enjoy!
- Meet the Molecular Programmer: #1 Rebecca Schulman
- Q&A: Brenda Rubenstein: Storage and Computing with Small Molecules: A Tutorial
- Interested in helping out, sharing something interesting, or have an idea for something we could do?
1. Meet the Molecular Programmer: #1 Rebecca Schulman
The “Meet the Molecular Programmer” podcast series focuses on casually chatting with professors about their life experiences. The first molecular programmer we chatted with is Prof. Rebecca Schulman, check it out here!
We briefly talked with Rebecca about her work from her early PhD journey to more recent work coming from her lab. We heard about her stories, the challenges, fun and exciting memories she had and lessons she learned during graduate school, and her wisdom about running her own lab. Rebecca provided valuable advice to students surviving and thriving graduate school and suggestions regarding working in a lab. We also had wonderful discussion about the interdisciplinary property of our field. Hope you enjoy the conversation! We certainly do!
2. Q&A: Brenda Rubenstein: Storage and Computing with Small Molecules: A Tutorial
Following on from our first event, a tutorial given by Brenda Rubenstein on her group’s work using small molecules for storage and computation, we had a chance to ask her some followup questions in our second podcast. Check out her answers 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.
3. 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!