Design Automation Software for DNA-Based Nano-Sensor Architectures

Period of Performance: 05/25/2011 - 11/25/2011


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Firebird Biomolecular Sciences, LLC
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

University of Rochester
518 Hylan, River Campusbox 27014
Rochester, NY 14627
Institution POC


Because of chemical behaviors of real DNA molecules, the nanotechnology envisioned by the Defense Department in this Solicitation will be possible only if design automation software creates nanostructures that exploit artificially expanded genetic information systems (AEGIS). AEGIS DNA molecules have more than the four nucleotides (GACT) found in natural DNA. Our software will accommodate nanoarchitectures built from these four, plus eight additional orthogonally pairing AEGIS nucleotides. By evading the computational challenges associated with natural DNA nanostructures, AEGIS will allow delivery at the end of Phase I, ahead of schedule, software that helps nanotechnologists design nanostructures that incorporate binding and catalytic DNA molecules, sensing functionality, and optical signaling elements. Additional benefits of AEGIS DNA nanostructures are their enhanced stability and potential to support continuous environmental monitoring. Also ahead of schedule, our Phase I work will deliver a physical example of a nanostructure containing these functional elements. This will allow Phase II to focus on higher level nanostructure performance, including dynamic architectures, interfaces to electrical output, and amorphous computing. This project overlaps Firebird's business, which supports human diagnostics based on reagent innovations like AEGIS. Adding nanotechnology to its existing business makes commercial sense, and will help "dual uses" emerge from this project.