CRISPR molecular recording, DNA machines and other tiny tales from the test tube

Miguel Foronda Alvaro

Our biological ID is stored in the DNA of any given cell from our bodies. DNA is also an excellent platform for digital data storage, reaching up to several petabytes per gram -depending on the encoding method-, and when placed in optimal conditions it surpasses by thousands of years the stability of conventional data storage platforms. Recent advances in DNA editing such as CRISPR/Cas9 technology are changing the pace at which we can modify any given DNA sequence at will, thus highlighting the potential of this biomolecule to be used as a reliable and easy to use storage device, as well as a molecular transcriptor.

In this talk I will present the concept of CRISPR-mediated genome editing and its application for DNA re-writing in a variety of organisms -including humans. I will also introduce the concepts of CRISPR-based molecular recorders, and digital data storage across living populations of organisms in distributed formats. I will also give a sneak-peek on single-molecule DNA navigators solving DNA origami-based 2D mazes. These advances on DNA programming and the generation of autonomous devices capable of operating in the molecular scale pave the way for generating a new wave of biomaterials with embedded computational functions.

Cross-sectional approaches in computing and biotechnology will hopefully facilitate the interaction between engineers and life scientists to enable a faster development of these paradigm-shifting computing interfaces.

Más información y requisitos

Basic molecular biology concepts such as DNA replication, CRISPR and genome engineering will help follow the talk more easily, although they are not essential to grasp the concepts delivered herein. As a (mostly) biotech-content talk, it will have less computer science concepts, but hopefully will help bring closer biology and engineering to foster collaborations in this paradigm-changing field.

Fácil Spanish Emprendimiento Big Data / Data Science Ingeniería Ciencia / Investigación

Thursday 14/03/2019

15:30 - 16:20

Track 2 (Salón de Grados)

Sobre el ponente

Miguel Foronda Alvaro

Weill Cornell Medicine (NYC, US)

I obtained my PhD with Maria Blasco from CNIO/UAM (Madrid, Spain) studying the interplay between telomeres, aging and skin regeneration/cancer. I then moved to University of Edinburgh (Edinburgh, UK) funded by the EMBO-LT and Marie Sklodowska-Curie IF programs, to learn about genome engineering and stem cells. Since 2016 I work as a postdoctoral researcher in molecular oncology and CRISPR-based genome/base editing at the Dow Lab in Weill Cornell Medicine (NYC, USA). I also direct the Career Development team in ECUSA-NY (Association of Spanish Scientists in the USA) and participate as technical advisor in Cybersecurity, Open Data and E-Democracy in the civil initiative Ciencia en el Parlamento. I am an avid coffee consumer and in my free time I love to do long hikes and runs!