Thursday, February 17, 2011 - 14:00
Weniger 304
Event Speaker: 
Dr. Michael Zwolak
Local Contact: 

A rapid and low-cost DNA sequencing method would revolutionize medicine: a person could have their full genome sequenced so that treatments could be tailored to their specific conditions; doctors could know in advance a patient's likelihood to develop a given ailment; cures to major diseases could be developed faster. These goals of "personalized medicine" are hampered today by the high cost and slow speed of DNA sequencing methods. I discuss a sequencing protocol we suggest that uses the measurement of transverse electronic currents during the translocation of single-stranded DNA through nanopores and support our conclusions using molecular dynamics simulations coupled to quantum mechanical calculations of electrical current in experimentally realizable systems. Several recent experiments also support our theoretical predictions. In addition to their possible impact in medicine and biology, the above methods offer ideal test beds to study open scientific issues in the relatively unexplored area at the interface between solids, liquids, and biomolecules at the nanometer length scale.