Artificial biochemical circuits and applications in biosensor and biodiagnosis


DNA molecules, which are known as critical genetic units in biological systems, are also versatile building blocks for constructing novel nanomaterials in structural DNA nanotechnology and for establishing complex autonomous systems in dynamic DNA nanotechnology. Our lab focuses on generating DNA artificial biochemical circuits via enzyme and enzyme-free methods, integrating them with the self-assembly of DNA–inorganic–nanoparticle conjugates, including Spherical Nucleic Acids (SNAs), and exploring their potential applications in biosensor and biodiagnosis.



Multi-scale molecular modeling


Theoretical calculations and simulations that have been widely applied in different fields are powerful tools in understanding biological processes at the atomic level. Our group uses various methods ranging from ab initio (DFT) simulations to mesoscopic simulations, including coarse-grained molecular dynamics, to investigate the self-assembly of SNAs driven with DNA-based nanomachines and to evaluate the stability and conformational transformation of G-quadruplexes. These methods are also to explore DNA rigidity and particle internalization by membrane.



Gene regulation in the field of synthetic biology*


Synthetic biology, as an evolving technology that has matured from the simple construction of unnatural parts to large-scale synthetic biological systems that have the potential to revolutionize biomedicine and biotechnology, have made significant technological progress in multiple areas, including cheaper DNA synthesis, next-generation sequencing, multiplexed, efficient, and simple genome engineering technologies. Synthetic systems can be designed to function in cell-free environments or implemented into living cells, commonly bacteria, yeast, or mammalian cells, to exploit cellular processes for desired applications. Because of the great promise for treatment of human diseases of synthetic biology, our lab has been working on creating a new transcription factor based gene switches and gene circuits to regulate the gene expression levels in mammalian cells, so that it can effectively diagnose and treat diseases. We also combined CRISPR technology, CAR-T immunotherapy, etc., to develop a new generation of cancer treatment methods, and explore intercellular signaling and pathways.