Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > New student team aims to create biomachines that destroy pollutants, cancer cells

Abstract:
Microscopic, living machines that sense toxins in the air or deliver drugs in the body -- the stuff of science fiction? A new Cornell student project team is working to make such things the stuff of reality.

The Cornell International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) team, formed this year, uses biological, not mechanical, components to make machines. Their goal is to enter the annual competition at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that convenes institutions from all over the world to design, create and demonstrate such machines.

New student team aims to create biomachines that destroy pollutants, cancer cells

Ithaca, NY | Posted on February 17th, 2009

This field is called synthetic biology, a discipline so new that many large research institutions don't offer specific programs to study it.

Reminiscent of when "nanotechnology" was barely a household term, synthetic biology is the design and engineering of complex biological systems that don't occur naturally, using DNA or other biological materials as "biobricks." Synthetic biologists bioengineer microorganisms that can perform such tasks as producing pharmaceuticals, detecting toxins, breaking down pollutants or repairing defective genes.

"A lot of students were looking for a project team in the bio-related disciplines, which didn't exist at Cornell," said Naweed Paya '09, who co-founded the team this past fall with Koonal Bharadwaj '09. Majors represented on the team include not only biological engineering and biology, but also chemical engineering, electrical engineering and materials science.

The team of nine students is brainstorming ideas for their entry into MIT's sixth iGEM competition, to be held in November. They plan to have their project implemented and ready for experimentation by the summer, they said. The team attended the November 2008 competition, which featured more than 80 teams, to observe the other schools and collect ideas.

Among other possibilities, the students are looking into using cells called magnetotactic bacteria for heavy-metal decontamination of water. Toxic metals would be attracted to the bacteria, and the bacteria would then be removed with a magnet.

Other ideas include using bacteria as an anti-tumor agent or to insert antioxidants found in berries or spinach into such food-producing cells as yeast or bacterial cells that produce cheese.

The students, whose faculty advisers are Carl Batt, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor of Food Science, and Maki Inada, senior research associate in molecular biology and genetics, are researching whether any of their ideas have been tried before. They spend Sunday afternoons presenting their findings to each other.

Meanwhile, the search is on for team funding. While they've received a small grant from the College of Engineering, the students are looking for alumni, companies or other donors who can support them longer term.

"It's kind of like we're reinventing the wheel," said Alyssa Henning '11, who added that what drew her to iGEM was the opportunity to explore uncharted territory. "What we are doing in any of these projects really hasn't been done before."

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Anne Ju


Chronicle Online
312 College Ave.
Ithaca, NY 14850
607.255.4206

Copyright © Cornell University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Tiny nanoclusters could solve big problems for lithium-ion batteries February 21st, 2017

Strem Chemicals and Dotz Nano Ltd. Sign Distribution Agreement for Graphene Quantum Dots Collaboration February 21st, 2017

Nominations Invited for $250,000 Kabiller Prize in Nanoscience: Major international prize recognizes a visionary nanotechnology researcher February 20th, 2017

Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms: In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport February 20th, 2017

Synthetic Biology

In-cell molecular sieve from protein crystal February 14th, 2017

Fast, efficient sperm tails inspire nanobiotechnology December 5th, 2016

Measuring forces in the DNA molecule: First direct measurements of base-pair bonding strength September 13th, 2016

Analog DNA circuit does math in a test tube: DNA computers could one day be programmed to diagnose and treat disease August 25th, 2016

Nanomedicine

Nominations Invited for $250,000 Kabiller Prize in Nanoscience: Major international prize recognizes a visionary nanotechnology researcher February 20th, 2017

Good vibrations help reveal molecular details: Rice University scientists combine disciplines to pinpoint small structures in unlabeled molecules February 15th, 2017

In-cell molecular sieve from protein crystal February 14th, 2017

Cedars-Sinai, UCLA Scientists Use New ‘Blood Biopsies’ With Experimental Device to Speed Cancer Diagnosis and Predict Disease Spread: Leading-Edge Research Is Part of National Cancer Moonshot Initiative February 13th, 2017

Discoveries

Tiny nanoclusters could solve big problems for lithium-ion batteries February 21st, 2017

Oxford Instruments announces Dr Brad Ramshaw of Cornell University, as winner of the 2017 Lee Osheroff Richardson Science Prize February 20th, 2017

Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms: In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport February 20th, 2017

'Lossless' metamaterial could boost efficiency of lasers and other light-based devices February 20th, 2017

Announcements

Tiny nanoclusters could solve big problems for lithium-ion batteries February 21st, 2017

Strem Chemicals and Dotz Nano Ltd. Sign Distribution Agreement for Graphene Quantum Dots Collaboration February 21st, 2017

Oxford Instruments announces Dr Brad Ramshaw of Cornell University, as winner of the 2017 Lee Osheroff Richardson Science Prize February 20th, 2017

Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms: In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport February 20th, 2017

Environment

Meta-lenses bring benchtop performance to small, hand-held spectrometer: Game-changing nanostructure-based lenses allow smaller devices, increased functionality February 9th, 2017

NIST updates 'sweet' 1950s separation method to clean nanoparticles from organisms January 27th, 2017

Investigating the impact of natural and manmade nanomaterials on living things: Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology develops tools to assess current and future risk January 9th, 2017

PCATDES Starts Field Testing of Photocatalytic Reactors in South East Asia December 28th, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project