Tuesday, April 13, 2021 | 16h00-17h00 | Zoom

Speaker: Dr. Chan Cao (EPFL)

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13.04.2021 | 16h00-17h00 | Chan Cao, EPFL

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Single-molecule sensing with biological nanopore

Nanopore sensing is an electrophoretic approach that can detect a single molecule as it transports through a pore of nanometer scale. The resulting electric current signal is exquisitely sensitive to the molecule of interest and thus can provide information about molecular size, mass, charge, composition, structure and conformation in real-time. Biological nanopores have been successfully applied in DNA sequencing with some unique features, long reads, low cost, high speed and a minimal sample preparation. Recently, this success has inspired its application for protein sensing and sequencing. As nanopore technology has been widely applied in many fields, there is a need for exploring novel biological nanopore candidates and improving them through molecular engineering. We have recently rationally designed and evaluated a set of mutated pores in silico by molecular dynamic simulations and in vitro by single-channel recording to study the structure–function relationship between the biological nanopore and its molecular sensing properties. Thanks to these fundamental understandings, we could precisely engineer the diameter and electrostatic properties of the nanopore, thereby achieving a more accurate molecular detection for DNA and peptide. Exploiting these engineered biological nanopores, we have applied nanopore approach in a frontier project: decoding digital information stored in tailored macromolecules. This study opens promising possibilities to develop writing-reading techniques to process digital data using a biologically-inspired platform, providing an alternative solution for future data storage.

About us:

We are working on various aspects of molecular nanotechnology and bioengineering, particularly focusing on biological nanopore sensing, including engineering and design of biological pores, detection of protein biomarkers, single-molecule DNA/protein sequencing, and nanopore-based molecular digital data storage.

About us

Our aim is to build a community of researchers working on diverse topics in mathematical and theoretical biology in Western Switzerland. We are planning to hold seminars approximately four times a year and to give a platform in particular to PhD students and postdocs. More advanced researchers are of course also welcome to join.