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NYU recently received a $1.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation to rebuild its Structuring DNA Nanotechnology laboratory.
by Yingying Yu
The laboratory, which is chiefly directed by chemistry professor Nadrian Seeman, uses DNA sequences to construct stick figures that are assembled into nanomechanical devices, truncated octahedrons and 3-D crystals.
National Science Foundation spokesman Joshua Chamot said the foundation is helping the nation take a leadership role in the development of "cutting-edge, next generation technologies."
"New York University plays an important role in spearheading this movement," he said.
The award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which aims to increase employment and promote advancements in science and technology.
The principle recipients of the award were NYU professors Seeman, Michael Ward and James Canary.
Canary said he will apply the nanotechnology developed in the lab to practical and commercial uses.
"Eventually, in 10 or so years, we will be able to organize electronic and optical components, promoting technical advances in memory storage and computing," Canary said.
The grant will fund renovations to the ceiling and floor, the reconfiguration of the room for better crystal growth, a new flat-screen television to help with x-ray crystallography and the expansion of the data analysis chamber.
"Research is not a guaranteed proposition where you make these changes and you get particular results," Seeman said. "Working will be easier and more effective in the lab, because the decay that has occurred since it was built in 1989 will be corrected."
Seeman said the funding was granted to NYU because his laboratory founded the field of structural DNA nanotechnology over 20 years ago. Since then, laboratories all over the world have become engaged in this thriving and growing enterprise. To date, there are more than 50 laboratories devoted to improving structural DNA nanotechnology around the globe.
"It is appropriate that the founding laboratory not be hampered by age-based decay." Seeman said.
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