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!

  1. New events coming–Chat with Erik Poppleton!
  2. Poster submission deadline Feb 28th for the Online Workshop on nucleic acids, synthetic biology and artificial life
  3. Interested in helping out, sharing something interesting, or have an idea for something we could do?

1. New events coming–Chat with Erik Poppleton!

We will soon talk with Erik Poppleton! Please send us your questions!

Erik Poppleton‘s research is focused on how to use computational modeling to inform the design of molecular machines. As part of Petr Sulc’s and Hao Yan’s research groups, Erik uses coarse-grained molecular modeling software to identify structural features and rationally iterate designs of DNA and RNA nanostructures, which he can then test in the lab; as part of this, he also develops general-use analysis tools for oxDNA, and conversion tools to integrate the various design and simulation tools in the nucleic acid nanotechnology ecosystem.

His previous research has included using oxidizing agents to accelerate bioremediation of hydrocarbon-contaminated soils, using bacterial collagen-like molecules and synthetic peptides for biophysical characterization of the molecular basis for collagen structure, and using isotope tracking to characterize carbon degradation and distribution in deep soil.


2. Poster abstract deadline Feb 28th for the Online Workshop on nucleic acids, synthetic biology and artificial life

Last reminder about poster abstract deadline! For more information, click here!

Nucleic acid nanotechnology is an incredibly versatile platform for constructing rationally-designed molecular systems. Much of the current attention is focussed on self-assembling structures that are designed to reach a static equilibrium, or computational architectures that compute a single function by relaxing to equilibrium.

One of the signature features of living systems, however, is that they operate continuously rather than relaxing to equilibrium. The circuits built by synthetic biologists from re-purposed cellular components reflect this principle. Components are continuously produced and degraded, and the system is dynamically responsive to a changing environment. Feedback control architectures, which reject external perturbations to maintain certain properties of key molecular species, are a particularly elegant example.

Other researchers seek to mimic specific functions of living systems—such as replication, or cellular division—using de novo chemical designs. In doing so, they grapple with the challenges of designing and controlling far-from equilibrium systems with innovative chemical motifs.

We are gathering researchers with expertise across these disciplines for a workshop to discuss how nucleic acid engineering can be made more lifelike. In doing so, we hope to explore how nucleic acid nanotechnology can be applied more broadly to synthetic biology and the engineering of minimal life-like systems.

The workshop will take place online between the 29th and the 31st March 2021. Visit our programme page for more details on the timings and our speakers. If you would like to attend or submit a poster abstract, please visit the registration page.


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:

We’re looking forward to getting to hear from you, and getting to know you better!