October 6, 2019

Guest Lecture on ‘Introduction to DNA Nanotechnology’


The Department of Chemical Engineering, MVJCE, organised a Guest Lecture on ‘Introduction to DNA Nanotechnology’by Dr. Banani Chakraborty, Visiting Faculty, IISc, Bangalore.The session was conducted in Seminar Hall 6, from 2.30 am to 4.00 pm, on 27.09.2019.


The Guest Lecture was attended by 65 students of 7th and 5th Semesters, along with 7 faculty members, from the Department of Chemical Engineering.

About the Speaker

Dr. Banani Chakraborty is a Visiting Faculty in the Department of Chemical Engineering, IISc, Bangalore. She earned her Doctoral Degree from New York University, NY, USA, in 2008. She holds a Master’s degree in Science from Indian Institute of Technology – Kanpur (2002). She has completed B.Sc. from Presidency College, Kolkata, in 2000. Dr. Babani’s research area includes Functionalizing DNA origami as nano-biochip, In depth mechanistic understanding of aptamer-target complex using smFRET, Merging top down and bottom up DNA Nanotechnology to make robust nano robots and nano pores, DNA origami based nano cage for drug delivery controlled by DNA aptamers etc.

She has received prestigious awards like Ramalingaswami Re-Entry Fellowship from DBT India (2015-2020), Alexander von Humboldt post-doctoral fellowship, Germany (2011-2013), Mac Cracken fellowship for graduate studies, NYU, USA (2002-2008), Best graduate student teaching award from GSAS and CAS, NYU, USA (2005). She has many publications in peer reviewed national and international journals, to her credit.

A Brief Account of the Lecture

The Lecture started with a discussion on DNA, the magical biomolecule and the evolution of the budding field of DNA Nanotechnology. The Lecture gave an insight into the design and manufacture of artificial structures for technological uses. The artificially created nucleic acids are not used for carrying the information forward. Instead, they are used in nanotechnology, as the non-biological engineering materials.

The conceptual foundation for DNA nanotechnology was first laid out by Nadrian Seeman in the early 1980s. Seeman’s original motivation was to create a three-dimensional DNA lattice for orienting other large molecules, which would simplify their crystallographic study by eliminating the difficult process of obtaining pure crystals.DNA nanotechnology is a great way for the formation of a complex structure that provides control over the nanoscale features. The DNA origami rods are being used as a replacement for liquid crystals in protein NMR spectroscopy, since DNA origami is more tolerant towards the detergents used for suspension of membrane proteins in the solution. The study of protein folding and enzyme function, has become easier by using DNA nanotechnology.

There are various instances where nanotechnology coupled with DNA has worked wonders. For example, gold nanoparticles help in identification of cancer and other diseases. It also helps delivery of genes, chemical messengers or drugs inside the cells. The DNA molecules can be packed into the nanoparticles, after which, they can be inserted into the cells.

The videos and animation images, of the wonders of DNA origami nanostructures and dynamic (moving) machine constructed from DNA origami, that were played during the Lecture were very informative. Dr. Banani also threw light on the subfields of DNA Nanotechnology, i.e. structural and dynamic DNA Nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology has become the latest trend. Nanoscale materials are being used in every field. Researchers are working on developing various assets that can be used for treating cancer, infections, and for gene modification. So far, gold nanoparticles have been doped with the DNA of patients for detection of bacteria in blood to determine the kind and type of infection. DNA nanotechnology is being widely used for curing problematic areas in structural biology and biophysics, along with the determination of structures. Applications for DNA nanotechnology in nanomedicine is focusing on mimicking the structure and function of naturally occurring membrane proteins with designed DNA nanostructures. Recently, solid DNA nanotechnology applications combining DNA with proteins or cellulose and cross-linked with streptavidin-biotin are used in nanochip, nanosensor and nano-robotic technologies.

Dr. Banani also highlighted the latest development of DNA nanotechnology in the usage of DNA aptamer biosensor for the rapid detection of lung cancer. The application of DNA nanotechnology in the field of computational science, DNA chips and molecular robotics was also explained, in a simple way.

Outcome of the Event

The Lecture enabled the students to understand the basics and importance of the emerging technology called DNA Nanotechnology. The Lecture helped them to learn the applications of DNA nanostructures in DNA Chips, DNA Robotics, DNA transistors, biocatalysis, DNA computing, disease diagnosis and drug delivery. The students were gifted with information and knowledge about industry needs, latest technical appraisals in this area, and channels for higher studies and research in DNA nanotechnology and related fields.