Hello and welcome back to the newsletter! Feel free to hang out at the 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, Amazon, Stitcher, TuneIn, and more (as well as manually in your favorite podcast client with our RSS feed)! Enjoy!

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  1. Meet the Molecular Programmer: #3 Damien Woods!
  2. reading group
  3. Coming very soon—Chat with Dr. Sifang Chen!
  4. Message from tilibit nanosystems
  5. Seeking feedback!
  6. Interested in helping out, sharing something interesting, or have an idea for something we could do?

1. Meet the Molecular Programmer: #3 Damien Woods!

TheMeet the Molecular Programmer” podcast series focuses on casually chatting with professors about their academic and life experiences. We believe that their research can be easily accessed, but the experience behind and wisdom obtained during the path is more valuable and worth sharing to younger students. For our previous “Meet the Molecular Programmer” podcast series, please check it here.

In this episode, we chatted with Damien Woods, starting from his early interests in dynamics and optical computers (the subject of his PhD thesis) to the interests of molecular programming and one of his well known papers Diverse and robust molecular algorithms using reprogrammable DNA self-assembly–the implementation of 21 algorithms using a 6-bit boolean circuit built out of a DNA tile-set. (We also discussed this paper in the episode with Dave Doty.) We chatted about the advantages of engineering molecular circuit using the DNA tiles described in the paper, and the potential implementations of more complex computers, how Damien et al.’s 6-bit boolean circuit might be scaled up, and how the number of required tiles scales with the computational complexity (it’s linear!). This led us on to an extended discussion about universal tile-sets, their existence, and their ability to be implemented in DNA.

We also chatted about Damien’s experience in academia. He has been to quite a few places, and has worked on many different things. He shared his perspective about moving and traveling, and potential challenges for students and professors. He explained how his experience running a lab in two different countries differed, and how this shaped the way he runs his research group. He shared some stories of his unfinished projects, and his perspective on theory and experiments. We also got to know that Damien had a dream of being a rock star!

Damien Woods is at the Hamilton Institute, Maynooth University, Ireland, where his group conducts research on molecular computers: collections of carefully engineered DNA molecules that bump into each other and interact in a test tube to solve some computational problem. His focus is on both the underlying computational theory and implementation in the lab. The work is funded by the European Research Council (ERC) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). He traveled for a bit, doing research in Inria (France, 2016-2018), a long stint at Caltech (USA, 2009-2016), as well as University of Seville (Spain) and University College Cork (Ireland). His PhD is from Maynooth University (Ireland). He enjoys whiteboarding, pipetting, AFMing and other scientific sports.


2. reading group

Hello everyone! We are very excited to host a reading group! This reading group will be focused on research literature in the molecular programming field (broadly speaking)! An initial idea of the reading group is that it will be of limited size with 1 hour discussion time as the upper bound for each session. To help us organize the reading group, if you are interested in joining, please get in touch!


3. Coming very soon—Chat with Dr. Sifang Chen!

We chatted with Dr. Sifang Chen and the next podcast episode will come very soon!

Dr. Sifang Chen is a science policy postdoc at the Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC). Her work focuses on policies related to synthetic biology and biotechnology, specifically on how to advance the field to help fight climate change and make our future more sustainable. Prior to joining EBRC, she worked on low-cost biosensors for pollution detection and DNA-based programmable materials. Sifang received her Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Washington in 2019.


4. Message from tilibit nanosystems

“At tilibit nanosystems, we offer the design and production of DNA nanostructures for any application. If you would like to find out more, contact us at info@tilibit.com, or visit our website at www.tilibit.com.

Find out how others are using our products here.”


5. Seeking feedback

Hello subscribers, we are enthusiastic about improving, and making better! We’d really like to get your feedback on what you like and what we could be doing better. We’ve made a feedback survey, it’s a little long but feel free to only answer the questions you want to/can answer.


6. 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!