EPFL BioE Talks SERIES "The Challenges and Promises of DNA as Programmable Biomaterial"


Event details

Date 07.12.2020
Hour 16:3017:00
Speaker Prof. Maartje M.C. Bastings, Institute of Materials and Institute of Bioengineering, EPFL, Lausanne (CH)
Location Online
Category Conferences - Seminars

(note that this talk is number two of a double-feature seminar - see details of the first talk here)

DNA-nanotechnology offers unprecedented control over the precise structure and location in a nanostructure since each element has a unique sequence. In the DNA-origami method, a 7-kilobase “scaffold” strand is self-assembled with hundreds of shorter “staple” strands to form a parallel array of double helices.[1] Using this method, one can approximate any desired three-dimensional shape up to the size of a small virus.[2][3] The technology suffers however from inherent stability challenges when used in cellular environments.[4]

In this talk, I will start with a brief overview of the DNA nanotechnology principles and will go into depth on stabilization solutions that allow for cellular manipulation using DNA architectures.[5][6] We developed DNA-nanostructures with the aim to selectively target cells as well as study the shape related cellular uptake in various cell types.[7] Finally, I will touch upon our activities to explore precise activation of the immune system through controlled maturation of dendritic cells. By systematic screening of immune-pathway activation of DNA-origamis combined with antigens and danger-signals, we are making small steps into a better understanding of the complex mechanisms of our immune system. This knowledge holds potential to be translated toward the development of vaccines for autoimmune diseases and cancer.

[1]P. W. K. Rothemund, “Folding DNA to create nanoscale shapes and patterns,” Nature, 440, 7082, 297–302, 2006.
[2]S. M. Douglas, H. Dietz, T. Liedl, F. Graf, W. M. Shih, and B. Högberg, “Self-assembly of DNA into nanoscale three-dimensional shapes,” Nature, 459, 7245,  414–418, 2009.
[3]H. Dietz, S. M. Douglas, and W. M. Shih, “Folding DNA into twisted and curved nanoscale shapes,” Science, 325, 5941, 725–30, 2009.
[4]J. Hahn, S. F. J. Wickham, W. M. Shih, and S. D. Perrault, “Addressing the Instability of DNA Nanostructures in Tissue Culture,” 8, 9, 8765-8775, 2014
[5]N. Ponnuswamy et al., “Oligolysine-based coating protects DNA nanostructures from low-salt denaturation and nuclease degradation,” Nat. Commun., 8, 15654, 2017.
[6]H. Bila, E. E. Kurisinkal, and M. M. C. Bastings, “Engineering a stable future for DNA-origami as a biomaterial,” Biomater. Sci., 2019.
[7]M. M. C. Bastings et al., “Modulation of the Cellular Uptake of DNA Origami through Control over Mass and Shape,” Nano Lett., 2018.

Maartje Bastings, PhD (1984), studied Biomedical Engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (2003-2008). University of California, Santa Barbara and California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. Maartje combined her undergraduate studies in Biomedical Engineering with a professional education in classical flute on the Fontys Conservatory, Tilburg (BMus, 2007).
She performed her PhD research in the group of prof.dr. E.W. (Bert) Meijer, working on the understanding of multivalent binding mechanisms for directed targeting and the development of dynamic biomaterials for tissue engineering and successfully defended her thesis titled “Dynamic Reciprocity in Bio-Inspired Supramolecular Materials” in September 2012. Her thesis was awarded the University Academic Award (2013) for best university-wide PhD thesis.
From November 2012 – December 2016, Maartje worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Wyss Institute / Harvard University in Boston, USA.
Since January 2017, she is appointed at EPFL as tenure track assistant professor, heading the Programmable Biomaterials Laboratory (PBL). Her quest is to use DNA as a precision engineering tool to unravel the role of spatial organization in multivalent interactions.

Zoom link (with registration) for attending remotely: https://go.epfl.ch/EPFLBioETalks

IMPORTANT NOTICE: due to restrictions resulting from the ongoing Covid-19 situation, this seminar can be followed via Zoom web-streaming only, following prior one-time registration through the link above.

Practical information

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