The Andersen Lab is focused on biomolecular design and is using biomolecules such as DNA and RNA as building blocks to obtain nanoscale structures and devices. The research program can be divided into three principal areas: (i) understanding the fundamental principles of how biomolecules fold into unique and defined structure, (ii) designing, producing and characterizing both static and dynamic nanostructures for the development of molecular biosensors, (iii) implementing theoretical and practical knowledge about molecular design for synthetic biology applications such as intracellular sensing and targeting, metabolic engineering and gene expression modulation. The group have been invovled in developing the DNA origami method to create 3D nanomechanical devices and have recently invented the RNA origami method that allows nanostructures to be enzymatically synthesized and possibly expressed in cells. The RNA origami method was published in Science in 2014. AFM image by Cody Geary

Biomolecular design

Biomolecular design is a research area that aims at rationally designing biomolecular structures and devices. One such example is the DNA origami method developed by Paul Rothemund. In our lab we have been developing the RNA origami method where RNA nanostructures can be folded during transcription. In this area of research, we are mainly focused on the structure of the biomolecules, and in particular on increasing the size of the structures that can be designed and produced. Therefore, we develop software to aid in the design process as well as practical procedures that efficiently form the structures.

Biosensors and devices

A main focus of our lab is to use the principles of biomolecular design to create novel nanodevices. One direction that is very important for this goal is to develop biosensor devices. The biosensors that we make are both simple and more complex devices made of DNA or RNA. Our aim is to create nanorobots, which we define as rationally designed autonomous molecular devices that can sense, compute and act functionally. Biosensors are very central to this since they are able to sense, transduce, and report an output. 

Synthetic biology

Synthetic biology is a rigorous engineering discipline that aims to create, control and program biological behaviour. We have recently entered this field with the main goal of using rationally designed molecules to gain better control over biological processes. The RNA origami method can be used to express well-defined nanostructures in cell-like environments, where they can be used to scaffold biological components. By integrating our experience on biomolecular design processes with deep knowledge of biological and biochemical events, we aim to develop valuable tools for the production of complex synthetic nanodevices inside cells.

Scientific visualization

We offer a research programme for optimizing scientific data design and scientific imagery in contemporary bio- and nanoscience. The rapid increase of molecular and nanoscale data in contemporary science has produced an urgent need for developing new visual frameworks and tools to explore, analyze and communicate data. We aim at developing innovative visual solutions for contemporary scientific imagery, creates integrated visual systems based on graphic design and animation, and develops educational strategies in science visualization for scientists.

Research news

2014.10.22 | Research news, Public/media, Staff

Publication: Biozoom Vol 3 2014

Members of Visualization Lab edited and published in Biozoom Vol 3 2014 on Scientific Visualization: www.biokemi.org/biozoom (Cover illustration by David S. Goodsell).