DNA Nanotechnology Expert

Parabon NanoLabs is a vertically integrated DNA technology company that develops next-generation therapeutic and forensic products, which leverage the enormous power of DNA. Staffed by a uniquely qualified team of scientists and technologists, with expertise ranging from bioinformatics and oncology to chemistry and computer science, the Company is bringing to market revolutionary new products and services made possible by recent advances in DNA sequencing, processing and manufacturing technologies.

The Company is recruiting a Research Scientist with a high degree of patience, focus, accuracy and attention to detail to support expansion of both its R&D and commercial activities at its Huntington, West Virginia facility.

The position will have the following responsibilities:  Link to rest of job listing

DARPA on gut patrol

As any tourist who’s ever gotten a case of “traveler’s tummy” knows, venturing to foreign countries can sometimes be a little tough on the digestive system. But tourists aren’t the only ones who visit foreign lands — members of the military do as well. That’s why the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has given the Wyss Institute $4.7 million to develop a squadron of genetically engineered bacteria that will be able to identify, report on and attack harmful bugs in our gastrointestinal tracts.

Researchers at the institute, an alliance between various Harvard schools, plus other universities and medical centers, will be using the funds to create synthetic bacteria that will be able to detect inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. The bacteria will be taken in pill form. Link

Optogenetics Meets CRISPR

The CRISPR gene-editing system just got even better: a new light-activated Cas9 nuclease could offer researchers greater spatial and temporal control over the RNA-guided nuclease activity, according to a study published today (June 15) in Nature Biotechnology.

“This is an effective new system for extremely precise control of gene editing via light,” Paul Knoepfler, a stem cell biologist at the University of California, Davis, who was not involved in the research, told The Scientist in an e-mail. “Any technological advancement that can add in the precision and control of genetic modification is an important advance,” he added, noting that “this is one of many such efforts.”  Rest

NNI Report Assessing the Status of EHS Risk Science

Report examines progress three years after the release of the 2011 NNI EHS Research Strategy

(March 21, 2015) The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) today published the report from the workshop, “Stakeholder Perspectives on Perception, Assessment, and Management of the Potential Risks of Nanotechnology” (R3 Workshop), which was held September 10-11, 2013, in Washington, D.C. The goal of the workshop was to assess the status of nanotechnology environmental, health, and safety (EHS) risk science three years after the development of the 2011 NNI EHS Research Strategy and to identify the tools and best practices used by risk assessors to address the implications of nanotechnology. A wide range of stakeholders including Federal and State regulators, small and large businesses, insurance companies, academic researchers, occupational safety specialists, and public and environmental advocacy groups shared their perspectives on the risk management process; discussed strategies and approaches for improving risk science methods; and examined ways that NNI agencies can assist stakeholders in the responsible development of nanotechnology.

Stakeholders participating in the workshop presented their perspectives and methods used to assess and manage the potential risks of nanotechnology. Research presented at the workshop shows that technical risk data alone will not enable decisions; risk evaluations by different stakeholders with varying biases, values, and stances can affect the perceptions and behaviors (e.g., investment or personal safety decisions) of consumers, regulators, developers, manufacturers, and insurers.

Following a robust dialogue among participants, including a variety of stakeholder perspectives, participants identified needs in four areas. (The following list is not prioritized):

  • Communication Resources, including improved transparency in reporting the presence of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) and continued collaboration among diverse stakeholder groups.
  • Decision Tools, such as improved detection and characterization tools; improved methods for assessing both actual exposure to and potential risk from ENMs; tools to address nanotechnology-related environmental, health, and safety (“nanoEHS”) issues sooner in the product life cycle.
  • Data Resources, such as repositories or databases to facilitate access to or organization of existing information on nanoEHS; methods for accessing and investigating potentially protected information; and continued toxicology studies on the effects of ENMs.
  • Standards and Guidance Resources, in order to facilitate navigation of nanotechnology-enabled applications through the regulatory process and improved data quality and methods for reporting data used in nanomaterial risk assessment.

To view the full report, please visit www.nano.gov/R3report.

Media Contact: Marlowe Newman, mnewman@nnco.nano.gov or 703-292-7128

NNI Releases Supplement to the President’s 2016 Budget

Budget provides $1.5 billion in funding; details progress on NSIs, collaborations between Federal agencies

(March 11, 2015) The President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2016 provides $1.5 billion for the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), a continued Federal investment in support of the President’s priorities and innovation strategy. Cumulatively totaling more than $22 billion since the inception of the NNI in 2001, this funding reflects nanotechnology’s potential to significantly improve our fundamental understanding and control of matter at the nanoscale and to translate that knowledge into solutions for critical national needs.

Nearly half of the requested budget is dedicated to applications-focused R&D and support for the Nanotechnology Signature Initiatives (NSIs), reflecting an increased emphasis within the NNI on accelerating the transition of nanotechnology-based discoveries from lab to market. The NSIs are multiagency initiatives designed to accelerate innovation in areas of national priority through enhanced interagency coordination and collaboration. Furthermore, the NNI has continued to grow its hallmark environmental, health, and safety (EHS) activities, which now account for more than 10% of the NNI’s total budget (7% in dedicated EHS investments plus approximately 3% in additional EHS-related investments within the NSIs).

“Right now, the NNI is focused on innovations that support national priorities, while maintaining a strong foundation of fundamental research in nanoscience,” says Dr. Michael Meador, Director of the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office. “Our goal is to create an environment to foster technology transfer and new applications today, while supporting the basic research that will provide a continuing pipeline of new discoveries to enable future revolutionary applications tomorrow.”

The President’s 2016 Budget supports nanoscale science, engineering, and technology R&D at 11 agencies; another 9 agencies have nanotechnology-related mission interests or regulatory responsibilities. The NNI Supplement to the President’s 2016 Budget documents activities of these agencies in addressing the goals and objectives of the NNI.

To view the full document, visit www.nano.gov/2016BudgetSupplement.

ASU, IBM collaboration on DNA sequencing

A team of scientists from Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute and IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center have developed a prototype DNA reader that could make whole genome profiling an everyday practice in medicine.  “Our goal is to put cheap, simple and powerful DNA and protein diagnostic devices into every single doctor’s office,” said Stuart Lindsay, an ASU physics professor and director of Biodesign’s Center for Single Molecule Biophysics. Such technology could help usher in the age of personalized medicine, where information from an individual’s complete DNA and protein profiles could be used to design treatments specific to their individual makeup.  Link

Protons fuel graphene prospects

26 Nov 2014 – Graphene, impermeable to all gases and liquids, can easily allow protons to pass through it, University of Manchester researchers have found.

Graphene allows protons to pass through it, contrary to previous thinking
Graphene allows protons to pass through it, contrary to previous thinking

Published in the journal Nature, the discovery could revolutionise fuel cells and other hydrogen-based technologies as they require a barrier that only allow protons – hydrogen atoms stripped off their electrons – to pass through.

In addition, graphene membranes could be used to sieve hydrogen gas out of the atmosphere, where it is present in minute quantities, creating the possibility of electric generators powered by air.  Rest

Biological Circuits

A team led by ETH Professor Yaakov Benenson has developed several new components for biological circuits. These components are key building blocks for constructing precisely functioning and programmable bio-computers.

Symbolbild Biocomputer
Researchers are expanding the applicability of biological circuits. Background: Microscopic image of human kidney cells with fluorescent proteins in cell culture. (Photo: Montage / iStock)

Bio-engineers are working on the development of biological computers with the aim of designing small circuits made from biological material that can be integrated into cells to change their functions. In the future, such developments could enable cancer cells to be reprogrammed, thereby preventing them from dividing at an uncontrollable rate. Stem cells could likewise be reprogrammed into differentiated organ cells.  Rest

DNA Wire

The promise of molecular electronics gets hoisted up the flagpole periodically, but now an international team of researchers based out of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem claim to have made a breakthrough with DNA molecules that they believe may be the most significant development in the last decade of molecular electronics research.

In research published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, a international group of researchers hailing from Cyprus, Denmark, Italy, Spain and the United States has demonstrated that electric current can be transmitted through long DNA molecules. They believe that this demonstration could lead to the development of DNA-based electronic circuits.  Rest