On 9th September 2021, Dr. DanLuo, a professor from the Department of Biological and EnvironmentalEngineering at Cornell University, gave a presentation entitled “Using DNA asBoth a Genetic and a Generic Material.” He is currently also a faculty memberin Nanobiotechnology Center, Cornell Center for Materials Research, BiomedicalEngineering and New Life Science Initiatives at Cornell.
Dr. Luo’s research interests have focusedon using DNA as both a genetic and a generic material for real-worldapplications, including biosensing, drug discovery, drug delivery, alternativeenergy, photonic-electronic devices, etc.
Nucleic acids play a critical role inliving organisms as the carriers of genetic information. In the presentation, Dr.Luo explained why DNA perhaps was the smartest molecule on earth. DNA’smolecule could be made by machine and be programmed, contributing to itsapplication as a material with the characteristic of nanoscale and evolvable. Dr.Luo introduced his research about using DNA and RNA as both generic and geneticmaterials, using DNA as a true polymer and developing generic DNA materials,including tree-shaped DNA, DNA gels and DNA-nanoparticle hybrid assemblies.Multiplexed detections were achieved based on tree-shaped DNA nano-barcodes,detecting different color ratios rather than different colors. His groupsuccessfully manufactured a DNA-based free-standing ultrathin nanoparticlemembrane that was the thinnest monolayer in the world.
Dr. Luo's research group also aimed atdeveloping portable instruments. The achievements of DNA-based material haveshown a possible application in many fields, such as nonpoint source pollution,control release of drugs. Meanwhile, Dr. Luo supplemented their latest researchabout making biomass DNA-based material, which was more economical andsustainable than traditional fuel. “DNA is both a genetic material and ageneric material, a truly amazing material.” Dr. Luo pointed out.
In the lecture, Dr. Luo used many metaphorsand videos to present his research results, which appealed to students vividly.Dr. Luo answered the questions raised by students detailly to make them morestraightforward.