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! Feel free to hang out at the molpigs Forum! All the past podcasts and tutorial can be found here. You can also now find our podcasts on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, and more (as well as manually in your favorite podcast client with our RSS feed)! Enjoy!
We are now on twitter!
- Podcast with Kate Adamala
- Upcoming reddit Ask Us Anything — Get involved!
- New events coming–Chat with Namita Sarraf!
- Interested in helping out, sharing something interesting, or have an idea for something we could do?
1. Podcast with Kate Adamala
We chatted with Prof. Kate Adamala about her research on synthetic cells, brain-computer interfaces and space exploration. Check it out here!
Kate Adamala is a biochemist building synthetic cells. Her research aims at understanding chemical principles of biology, using artificial cells to create new tools for bioengineering, drug development, and basic research. The interests of her lab span questions from the origin and earliest evolution of life, using synthetic biology to colonize space, to the future of biotechnology and medicine.
She received a MSc in chemistry from the University of Warsaw, Poland, studying synthetic organic chemistry. In grad school, she worked with professor Pier Luigi Luisi from University Roma Tre and Jack Szostak from Harvard University. She studied RNA biophysics, small peptide catalysis and liposome dynamics, in an effort to build a chemical system capable of Darwinian evolution. Kate’s postdoctoral work in Ed Boyden’s Synthetic Neurobiology group at MIT focused on developing novel methods for multiplex control and readout of mammalian cells. Her full first name spells Katarzyna; she goes by Kate for the benefit of friends speaking less consonant-enriched languages.
2. Upcoming reddit Ask Us Anything — Get involved!
We’re setting up an “Ask Us Anything” about the field of molecular programming, and we’d like to invite you to join us.
Ask Us Anythings are a chance for the public to read about what our field does, and then to ask us anything they want to know about molecular programming. It will be hosted on reddit r/askscience (cross posted on r/IAmA) on March 31st, starting around 10am PDT/ 1pm EDT/ 6pm GMT/ 1am+1 JST. You’ll be able to log in to reddit any time your schedule allows and answer as many/few questions as you want. Here are a few examples. Our team will all be answering questions asynchronously for about 24 hours. We might end up posting different perspectives on the same questions, so it should be quite interesting!
If you’d like to participate, please email Dominic Scalise.
This community outreach project is co-hosted by MolPigs and the Molecular Programming Society (the team putting together a grassroots textbook called The Art of Molecular Programming). Thank you to everyone who has expressed in the textbook so far. We’ll be reaching out to prospective authors who filled out our application in about 6 more weeks, after we have the textbook foundation all in place.
— The Molecular Programming Society
3. New events coming–Chat with Namita Sarraf!
We will soon talk with Namita Sarraf!
Namita Sarraf is a graduate student in Lulu Qian’s lab at Caltech. She works on using simple algorithms to implement complex functionality in DNA robots. She earned her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Rochester, where she did research in tissue engineering (before learning about molecular programming, and falling in love with it).
If you have any questions, please send them here!
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!