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Nano Science and Technology Institute 2005 NSTI Nanotechnology Conference & Trade Show
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Towards Integrated Nanosystems: Bio-Nano-Informatics Fusion

C-H. Ho

integrated nanosystems, bio-nano-information fusion, molecular-scale devices

The human body is an extremely intelligent and complex adaptive system with a length scale on the order of a meter. The DNA/RNA and proteins molecules, which drive its natural processes possess dimensions on the nanometer range. Exploring the governing mechanisms across a wide span of length scales is best stated by P. W. Anderson in his 1972 Science paper as “at each level of complexity entirely new properties appear, and the understanding of the new behaviors requires research which I think is as fundamental in its nature as any other.” The rapid development of nanotechnology has driven the production of molecular-scale devices towards the functionalizing of materials, directly manipulating of genetic molecules and engineering strains of proteins to possess novel functionalities. The question of how we will span the length scales of these nano-scale capabilities which will eventually enable us to enrich human lives is a not an obvious, but a key task. Nature has evolved extremely intelligent and complex adaptive systems for driving the processes of everyday life. For example, a cell fuses genetic processes with nanoscale sensors and actuators to result in perhaps one of the most efficient autonomous micro “factories”. These basic processes that occur at the molecular level have opened up a world where leads us towards a compelling approach by fusing biotechnology, nanotechnology, and information science. This approach will enrich the development of revolutionary application-specific technologies. Examples will be given in this presentation for illustrating the capability of applying nano scale molecules to control a natural system, e.g. cell, where the complex networks of signal pathways are still beyond comprehension. With a cocktail of nanoscale cytokines, it is possible to induce the micron-size cells to yield a final desired phenotype. We have demonstrated that properly designed time-varying stimulations can self-organize and adjust the functionalities across multiple length scales to efficiently reach the desired control state. This may yield new insight into unlocking and acquiring novel control modalities of the underlying mechanisms that drive the natural processes of life.

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