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! All the past podcasts and tutorial can be found here. Enjoy! Feel free to hang out at the molpigs Forum!
- Lab Pigs: #1 Dominic Scalise
- Grassroots Textbook Initiative: The Art of Molecular Programming
- From 1700 GMT December 12th till ???: ‘Oink Me Anything’: Dominic Scalise
- Interested in helping out, sharing something interesting, or have an idea for something we could do?
1. Lab Pigs: #1 Dominic Scalise
The “Lab Pig” series highlights PhD students’ and postdoctoral scholars’ research and academic experience. We’re excited to announce that our first edition of this series is out! We talked with Dr. Dominic Scalise, and you can listen to it here.
Dominic Scalise is a postdoctoral scholar in Lulu Qian’s lab at Caltech. He earned his PhD in chemical and biomolecular engineering from Johns Hopkins, advised by Rebecca Schulman, and his B.S. in mechanical engineering from UC Berkeley. His work focuses on developing a stored program chemical computer, and powering circuits using DNA buffer reactions.
Abstract: Molecular programming extends computer science beyond electronics into chemistry, and lets humans directly program physical matter. However, chemical circuits remain arduous to program, often requiring months or years to design, implement, and debug even a single program. In stark contrast, we program modern electronics with much less effort. A critical step in simplifying electronic programming was the invention of “software” in the 1940s. I will outline how similar concepts of “chemical software”, in which programs are stored in memory rather than hard coded into the connections of chemical reaction networks, could dramatically simplify the task of chemical programming. I will then discuss some reaction motifs in development which may be useful for implementing chemical software.
2. Grassroots Textbook Initiative: The Art of Molecular Programming
Following on from Dominic’s announcement and our discussion at the end of the podcast (click here to jump directly to it!), we have some more details below!:
Together with Namita Sarraf and William Poole, Dominic is launching a grassroots initiative to create a textbook called The Art of Molecular Programming. And they need YOUR help! The principles of molecular programming are currently scattered across thousands of papers, which presents a barrier for new researchers entering the field. The Art of Molecular Programming will collect these principles in one location, provide tutorial lessons to guide students’ learning, and present a collective vision on where the field is heading. The team seeks participation from anyone who considers themselves a molecular programmer (i.e. You), regardless of your career stage. If you are interested in authoring a section of The Art of Molecular Programming, or in joining the editorial board, please email Dominic. A more formal announcement with additional details will follow in the coming weeks.
3. From 1700 GMT December 12th till ???: ‘Oink Me Anything’: Dominic Scalise
Join us over at the molpigs forum (invite link) where Dominic will be answering any questions you might have about, well, anything! Whether about his research, his life, or perhaps his new grassroots textbook initiative with Namita Sarraf and William Poole, there’s lots to talk about! To get some inspiration, why not check out our podcast with Dominic first.
4. 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 hear from you, and getting to know you better!