Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Molecular robotics presentation now online

Nadine Dabby speaks at TEDxCaltech conferenceNadine Dabby foresees a day when the science of molecular robotics means the creation of smart medicines that can act like teams of swallowed micro surgeons who can repair the ravages of cancer, or the creation of smart microchips that could rewire themselves instead of being buried in a landfill when they become obsolete.

Dabby is a Ph.D. student from the California Institute of Technology who gave a talk entitled "Building a Molecular Robotics Tool Kit" as part of the ATLAS Speaker Series on Wednesday, April 30.

Click here for video of her Speaker Series presentation.

Dabby is a student in Computation and Neural Systems at Caltech, where she works on DNA nanotechnology and molecular programming in the Winfree Lab. She has a double major in Molecular and Cell Biology, and English Literature, from UC Berkeley.

Dabby also is an adjunct lecturer at the Art Center College of Design, where she teaches a course on Biomimicry to art and design students.

While introducing Dabby, ATLAS master's program director Revi Sterling noted that ATLAS grad students first met Dabby while attending the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference last year in Atlanta. The event is the leading conference for women in the field of computer science and is named in honor of U.S. Navy Admiral Grace Hopper, a pioneering computer scientist. ATLAS was a Gold Academic Sponsor of the conference and about a dozen women from ATLAS graduate and undergraduate programs attended.

Dabby talked about her work with manipulating DNA molecules to "walk" along predetermined paths, and her work on creating a tool kit for manipulating molecules to simulate directional movement by controlling their growth, or active self-assembly, in specific directions.

Her work also includes techniques for measuring these nano-level reactions, and developing a theory for the active self-assembly of molecules.

The next Speaker Series event is scheduled for 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 13, in ATLAS 100. Margaret Dickey-Kurdziolek, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in computer science at Virginia Tech and researches issues of human computer interaction, will give a presentation entitled "Technology for Learning: Developing Educational Technologies that Survive in the Classroom."

The ATLAS Speaker Series is made possible by a generous donation by Idit Harel Caperton and Anat Harel.