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Dr. Pecic joins NSF Collaborative Project: Molecular computing for the real world

Dr. Pecic joins an ongoing NSF project (Award Number:1518861) with University of New Mexico. In this project, molecular circuit architectures that process sensor inputs from chemical sensors and cell-surface analysis reactions will be designed, modeled, and implemented in the laboratory. This will require specific advances in the isolation of aptamers (DNA sequences that exhibit particular binding affinity to one or more target non-nucleic acid molecules) and in their integration into molecular computing systems. In this context, the aptamer will serve as an interface that allows a rationally-designed DNA-based molecular computing system to use small molecules as input signals. Furthermore, computational modeling and simulation will be used to predict and optimize interactions between DNA aptamers and a range of binding targets, and to choose optimal aptamer combinations to produce cross-reactive multi-sensor arrays capable of discriminating between target ligands by effectively projecting the signal into a multi-dimensional aptamer response space. Furthermore, advanced molecular circuit architectures capable of adaptive, bio-inspired behavior, such as dynamic learning and adaptation, will be designed, with a view to future experimental implementations of these features in large-scale molecular computers. This will include research on highly recurrent, bio-inspired information processing networks to extract meaningful responses from potentially non-specific aptamer-based sensors.

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