Nano Science and Technology Institute

UK Research Team Announces Bio-Nano Breakthrough

Dr. Keith Firman of the University of Portsmouth, UK, tells NWN More About the Revolutionary Electronic DNA Switch.

Dr. Keith Firman and his team built the electronic switch around a ‘nanoactuator’, using technology that allowed them to develop a novel electronic switch based on DNA. The electronic DNA switch creates a foundation in which interface can now occur between a living organism, or a biological ‘system’ and a computer. “There is little doubt that our work only became possible with the advent of single molecule handling and measurement (in our case the use of magnetic tweezers systems),” Dr. Firman tells NWN.

Proposed DNA switch device in a microchannel of a Lab-on-a-Chip device.

Proposed DNA switch device in a microchannel of a Lab-on-a-Chip device. Provided by Dr. Keith Firman, © University of Portsmouth, UK.

In addition to a European Commission grant, the project is a true European collaborative effort. “The new funding has a total of seven partners (including the University of Portsmouth) from National Physical Laboratory (UK); TUDelft, ENS in Paris; INESC-MT, Lisbon, Portugal; EMPA, Thus, Switzerland and IMIC, Prague, Czech Republic,” notes Dr. Firman. The project has also attracted attention from two companies; he and his team are working with them to develop (two independent but simultaneous methods for) orthogonal biosensing for toxins.

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