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! We are also on twitter!
All the past podcasts and tutorial can be found here. You can also now find our podcasts on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, TuneIn, and more (as well as manually in your favorite podcast client with our RSS feed)! Enjoy!
- Podcast with Lee Organick
- Job Advertisements!
- Interested in helping out, sharing something interesting, or have an idea for something we could do?
1. Podcast with Lee Organick
In a previous episode we talked with Yuan-Jyue Chen about DNA storage. In this episode we revisited the DNA storage topic and talked with Lee Organick. We chatted more about the future of DNA storage, specifically where it fits in to the current data storage ecosystem. Lee argued that DNA is currently best suited archival and long term data storage, with many advantages over the traditionally used tape. Lee also talked us through a new project she is working on which involves augmenting the previously discussed DNA based image similarity search with Cas9! We also touched on an extremely interesting topic; that of the security concerns surrounding DNA data storage. We learned about how current sequencing machines may be vulnerable to buffer overflow attacks through the submission of malicious sequences and how sequencing leak can result in a nefarious third party being able to “spy” on other people’s pooled sequences. Some of our committee members even suggest some new potential exploits!
Lee started her research journey as a biologist and then turned into a computer scientist and engineer. She explained how she was “forced” to take a computer science class during her undergrad, which opened up a completely new field of interests. After this, she started incorporating more programming into her research, and as such slowly moved into more computational fields. This is how she eventually found herself at MISL, and has been programming molecules ever since. She talked about how the transition from biology to computer science was a difficult one, and how she suspected that she invested more time than the average student moving in the opposite direction.
Enjoy this episode!
Lee Organick is a fourth year computer science and engineering Ph.D. student at the University of Washington in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering. Her focus is on the intersection of biology and computer science, using biology to do tasks traditionally done by computers.
She works in the Molecular Information Systems Lab in close collaboration with Microsoft Research to make archival DNA data storage a reality. She also collaborates with the Security and Privacy Research Lab to make DNA sequencing secure.
2. Job Advertisements!
The Shih Lab at Harvard is looking for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and research technicians, with specific openings for:
– Postdoctoral Fellow for DNA Nanoswitch Calipers
– Research Technician for programmable self-assembly of DNA nanostructures
– Research Technician for DNA nanostructure-based cancer immunotherapies
– General inquiries are also welcome
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 defense, 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!